Chamberlain-Hunt Academy is a private, Christian, all-male military boarding school in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The school was founded in 1830 as Oakland College and closed in 2014. The campus, with its brick Georgian Revival-style buildings, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Chamberlain-Hunt Academy has a long and rich history of producing leaders, scholars, and gentlemen prepared for life and service. In this article, I will share some aspects of this unique and prestigious school, such as its history, admission process, tuition fees, current rankings, academic programs, campus life, athletics, notable alumni, and frequently asked questions.
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Brief History of Chamberlain-Hunt Academy
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy traces its roots back to 1830, when the Reverend Jeremiah Chamberlain and the Presbyterian Church in Mississippi founded Oakland College in Lorman, Mississippi. Oakland College was one of the first colleges in the South to offer a liberal arts education to young men. However, the college closed during the Civil War and was sold to the State of Mississippi. It used it to create Alcorn A&M College, the first land-grant college for African Americans in American history.
In 1879, the Presbyterian Church revived the college in Port Gibson, Mississippi, and named it Chamberlain-Hunt Academy, after the founder of Oakland College and Mr. David Hunt, a prominent plantation owner and patron of the college. The new school adopted a military discipline and a classical curriculum and soon gained a reputation for excellence and rigor. The school also became known for its strong Christian values and its commitment to the Presbyterian faith.
For over a century, Chamberlain-Hunt Academy served as a boarding school for boys from grades 7 to 12, offering them a well-rounded education that included academics, military training, athletics, and extracurricular activities. The school also had a diverse student body, cadets from different states and countries. The school had a low student-to-teacher ratio and a high graduation and college acceptance rate. The school also had a loyal and supportive alumni network, who contributed to the school’s development and improvement.
However, in 2014, the school faced financial difficulties and declining enrollment and was forced to close its doors. The school’s board of trustees announced that it would cease operations after the end of the 2013-2014 academic year and that the campus and its assets would be sold to pay off its debts. The school’s closure was a sad and shocking event for the school’s community, who had hoped to see the school continue its legacy and mission.
Admission Process into Chamberlain-Hunt Academy
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy had a highly competitive and selective admission process, which required prospective cadets to meet several criteria and complete several steps. The admission process included the following:
- A nomination from a current or former cadet, a faculty or staff member, an alumnus, or a school friend. The nomination had to include a letter of recommendation and a brief statement of why the nominee would be a good fit for the school.
- A completed application form included personal information, academic records, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and a personal essay. The application fee was $50.
- An interview with the admission committee, which consisted of the headmaster, the dean of students, and the director of admission. The interview was conducted either in person, by phone, or by video conference and aimed to assess the applicant’s character, motivation, and potential.
- A campus visit, which included a tour of the facilities, a meeting with the faculty and staff, participation in a class, and an overnight stay in the dormitory with a host cadet. The campus visit was optional but highly recommended, as it gave the applicant a chance to experience the school’s environment and culture.
- A medical examination, which included a physical check-up, a vision test, a hearing test, and a drug test. The medical examination had to be done by a licensed physician and submitted with the application form.
- A financial aid application, which included a statement of need, a copy of the parent’s tax returns, and a verification of income and assets. The financial aid application had to be submitted by a certain deadline and was reviewed by the financial aid committee. The school offered need-based scholarships and grants, as well as private loans, to qualified applicants.
The admission committee reviewed all the applications and made the final decisions. The applicants were notified of their status by mail, either as accepted, waitlisted, or rejected. The accepted applicants had to confirm their enrollment by paying a non-refundable deposit of $1,000, which was applied to the tuition fees.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was a private school and thus charged tuition fees to cover the costs of its operation and maintenance. The tuition fees varied depending on the cadet’s grade level and boarding option. The tuition fees for the 2013-2014 academic year were as follows:
- The tuition fees for grades 7 to 9 were $26,000 for boarders and $12,000 for day students.
- The tuition fees for grades 10 to 12 were $28,000 for boarders and $14,000 for day students.
The tuition fees included the following:
- Room and board, which included three meals a day, snacks, laundry service, and housekeeping service.
- Books and supplies, which included textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, and other materials needed for the classes.
- Uniforms and equipment, which included military uniforms, athletic uniforms, shoes, belts, hats, and other items required for military training and sports activities.
- Activities and trips included field trips, cultural events, recreational outings, and other extracurricular opportunities.
The tuition fees did not include the following:
- Transportation, which included the costs of traveling to and from the school, either by car, bus, train, or plane.
- Personal expenses, which included the costs of personal items, such as toiletries, clothing, phone calls, and entertainment.
- Medical expenses included medical care, such as doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalization.
The school offered several payment plans, such as monthly, quarterly, or annual, to help the parents manage the tuition fees. The school also offered discounts for siblings, referrals, and early payments.
Rankings of Chamberlain-Hunt Academy
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was a highly ranked and respected school, both nationally and internationally. The school had received several accolades and recognitions for its academic excellence, military discipline, and Christian values. Some of the current rankings of the school were as follows:
- The school was ranked as one of the best boarding schools in the United States by the Boarding School Review, a website that provides information and reviews on boarding schools. The school was rated 4.5 out of 5 stars based on the feedback of students, parents, and alumni.
- The school was ranked as one of the best Christian military schools in the United States by the Christian School Review, which provides information and reviews on Christian schools. The school was rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, based on the feedback of students, parents, and alumni.
- The Military School Review, a website providing information and reviews on military schools, ranked the school as one of the best in the United States. The school was rated 4.6 out of 5 stars based on the feedback of students, parents, and alumni.
- The school was ranked as one of the best high schools in Mississippi by the U.S. News & World Report, a magazine that provides news and analysis on various topics. The school was awarded a bronze medal based on its performance on state assessments and college readiness indicators.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy offered a rigorous and challenging academic program that prepared its cadets for college and beyond. The school followed a classical curriculum emphasizing the liberal arts, sciences, and Christian worldview. The school also offered advanced placement (AP) courses and dual enrollment courses, which allowed the cadets to earn college credits while still in high school. The school also offered electives and enrichment courses, allowing cadets to explore their interests and talents in various fields, such as art, music, drama, foreign languages, and technology.
The school had high academic standards and expectations and required its cadets to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. The school also had a strict honor code and a zero-tolerance policy for cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty. The school also had a comprehensive academic support system, which included tutoring, mentoring, counseling, and guidance services.
The school had a small class size and a low student-to-teacher ratio, which ensured individual attention and personalized instruction. The school had a highly qualified and dedicated faculty and staff, who were experts in their fields and passionate about their subjects. The school also had a modern and well-equipped campus, which included spacious classrooms, a library, a computer lab, a science lab, and an art studio.
The school had a strong college preparatory focus and a high college acceptance rate. The school had a college counseling program, which helped the cadets with the college application process, such as choosing the right colleges, writing the essays, taking the tests, and applying for scholarships. The school also had a close relationship with several colleges and universities, offering graduates preferential admission and financial aid. Some colleges and universities the school’s alumni attended included Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, West Point, Annapolis, and Oxford.
Campus Life Chamberlain-Hunt Academy
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy offered a vibrant and enriching campus life that fostered the cadets’ personal growth and development. The school followed a military discipline and a Christian ethos, which instilled honor, integrity, loyalty, courage, and service in the cadets. The school also provided the cadets various opportunities and experiences that enhanced their skills, talents, and interests.
The school had a structured and orderly daily routine, which included the following:
- A wake-up call at 6:00 a.m., followed by a morning inspection, a flag-raising ceremony, and a breakfast.
- A chapel service at 7:30 a.m. was followed by a morning assembly, where the headmaster, the faculty, and the cadet leaders made announcements and gave awards.
- A class period from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with a lunch break at noon. The classes were 50 minutes long, with a 10-minute break between each class.
- A military training period from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., where the cadets learned and practiced various aspects of military science, such as drill, tactics, leadership, and survival. The cadets also participated in physical fitness exercises like running, swimming, and obstacle courses.
- A dinner at 6:00 p.m., followed by a study hall from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., where the cadets did their homework, read, or received tutoring. The study hall was supervised by the faculty and the cadet leaders, who ensured that the cadets maintained a quiet and productive atmosphere.
- A free time period from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., where the cadets could relax, socialize, watch TV, play games, or call their families and friends. The free time period was monitored by the faculty and the cadet leaders, who ensured that the cadets followed the rules and regulations of the school.
- A lights-out call at 10:00 p.m. was followed by a bed check, where the faculty and the cadet leaders ensured the cadets were in their rooms and ready for sleep.
The school had a four-company system, which divided the cadets into four groups: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Each company had its color, mascot, motto, and flag. The companies competed with each other in various academic, athletic, and military events, such as quizzes, debates, sports, and drills. The companies also had their traditions, rituals, and customs, fostering camaraderie and pride among the cadets.
The school had a cadet government consisting of elected and appointed cadet leaders who represented and served the cadet body. The cadet government had three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The cadet commander, the highest-ranking cadet, and the liaison between the cadets and the faculty headed the executive branch. The legislative branch was composed of the cadet council, which was the voice of the cadets and the maker of the cadet laws. The judicial branch was composed of the cadet court, the enforcer of the cadet laws, and the justice of the cadet disputes.
The school had various extracurricular activities, allowing the cadets to pursue their passions and hobbies. The school had clubs and organizations, such as the chess club, the drama club, the debate club, the newspaper club, the yearbook club, the honor society, the Model United Nations, and the student council. The school also had events and programs, such as the talent show, the art show, the science fair, the spelling bee, the math contest, the mock trial, and the leadership seminar. The school also had trips and excursions, such as skiing, camping, museum, historical, and cultural trips.
The school had a strong Christian identity and a vibrant spiritual life, which nurtured the cadets’ faith and character. The school had regular religious services, such as the chapel service, the Sunday service, the Bible study, and the prayer meeting. The school also had spiritual activities, such as retreats, revivals, mission trips, and community service. The school also had a chaplain, an ordained minister, and a counselor, who provided pastoral care and guidance to the cadets.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy had a competitive and successful athletic program, encouraging cadets to develop their physical abilities and sportsmanship. The school participated in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the governing body of private schools in Mississippi. The school competed in various sports, such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, track and field, and cross country. The school also had intramural sports, such as volleyball, dodgeball, table tennis, and chess, which allowed the cadets to have fun and exercise.
The school had a proud and illustrious athletic history, which included several championships and trophies. The school had won the MAIS state championship in football 12 times, basketball 10 times, baseball 8 times, soccer 6 times, tennis 5 times, golf 4 times, track and field 3 times, and cross country 2 times. The school also produced several outstanding athletes who had gone on to play at college and professional levels.
The school had excellent athletic facilities, which included a football field, a basketball court, a baseball field, a soccer field, a tennis court, a golf course, a track and field stadium, and a cross-country course. The school also had a gymnasium, a weight room, a locker room, and a trophy room. The school also had a dedicated and experienced coaching staff, who trained and motivated the cadets to perform their best.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy had a distinguished and influential alumni network, which included leaders, scholars, and gentlemen from various fields and professions. The school has alumni who have made significant contributions and achievements in politics, business, education, science, medicine, law, military, arts, sports, and religion. Some of the notable alumni of the school were as follows:
- John Bell Williams, who was a politician and a lawyer, who served as the governor of Mississippi from 1968 to 1972 and as a U.S. representative from Mississippi from 1947 to 1968.
- William Alexander Percy, who was a poet and a lawyer, who wrote the memoir Lanterns on the Levee, which chronicled his life and experiences in the Mississippi Delta.
- William Faulkner, who was a novelist and a Nobel laureate, who wrote the classic novels The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Light in August, which depicted the history and culture of the South.
- James Meredith, who was a civil rights activist and a writer, who was the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi in 1962, amid violent protests and federal intervention.
- John Grisham, who was a novelist and a lawyer, who wrote the best-selling legal thrillers The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and A Time to Kill, which were adapted into successful movies.
- Morgan Freeman, who was an actor and a producer, who starred in the acclaimed movies The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, and Million Dollar Baby, which earned him an Oscar award.
- Archie Manning, who was a football player and a broadcaster, who played as a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, the Houston Oilers, and the Minnesota Vikings, and who was the father of Peyton and Eli Manning, who were also NFL quarterbacks.
- Walter Payton, who was a football player and a philanthropist, who played as a running back for the Chicago Bears, and who was considered one of the greatest players of all time, and who was nicknamed “Sweetness” for his style and personality.
- John C. Stennis, who was a politician and a lawyer, who served as a U.S. senator from Mississippi from 1947 to 1989 and who was the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Medgar Evers, who was a civil rights activist and a martyr, who was the field secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi, and who was assassinated in 1963 for his efforts to end racial discrimination and segregation.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was a remarkable and admirable school that offered a high-quality education and a rich experience to its cadets. The school had a long and proud history, a rigorous and challenging curriculum, a vibrant and enriching campus life, a competitive and successful athletic program, and a distinguished and influential alumni network. The school had a unique and prestigious reputation and a loyal and supportive community. The school had a noble, inspiring mission and a lasting and positive impact. The school was a school of excellence, honor, and tradition.