April, 12

Franklin Military Academy in Richmond, Virginia – History, Admission, Ranking

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Franklin Military Academy, a name that conjures a rich tapestry of history and achievement, has a hidden facet that sparks intrigue. Imagine stepping into a time machine and landing in its founding years – when cadets marched to the beat of a different drum, quite literally! Yes, the academy’s origin story boasts a surprising musical twist. In its early days, Franklin Military Academy used a drum corps to signal the start and end of classes, creating a unique and harmonious rhythm that echoed through the campus. It’s a quirky, unexpected detail in the school’s history that adds charm to its legacy.

But that’s not all. Picture this: a graduation ceremony where cadets don robes and caps, as is customary, but there’s a twist. Instead of traditional diplomas, graduates receive symbolic swords. It’s a captivating tradition that underscores the academy’s commitment to forging scholars and future leaders with a keen sense of duty and honor. As we delve deeper into the world of Franklin Military Academy in VA, we’ll unravel more captivating stories and delve into its remarkable journey, where history, innovation, and excellence converge to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

In recent years, Franklin Military Academy, Virginia, has continued to evolve, embracing modern educational practices while preserving its unique heritage. It’s not just a school; it’s a living narrative where the past meets the future. This exploration will take you on a journey through its corridors, exploring its core values and shedding light on its role as a dynamic institution that prepares students for the challenges of today’s world, armed with the enduring principles of discipline, leadership, and academic excellence.

Brief Info About Franklin Military Academy, VA

Nestled within Richmond City, Franklin Military Academy is not just an ordinary secondary school; it’s a beacon of tradition and discipline that has shaped countless students’ academic and professional futures. Established in 1980, this academy is the first public military school in the United States, a testament to its pioneering spirit and commitment to providing a unique educational experience.

A Glimpse of the Academy’s Legacy

Remarkable achievements and milestones have punctuated Franklin Military Academy’s journey. In 2012, it earned a coveted bronze ranking on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best high schools, a testament to its dedication to academic excellence. But it’s not just about books and classrooms at Franklin; students here embrace a holistic approach to education. Alongside rigorous military training, they actively participate in various sports, including football, track, basketball, and baseball, fostering academic prowess, physical fitness, and teamwork.

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The Unique Franklin Experience

One striking feature of Franklin Military Academy is its dedication to military science. While most high schools focus solely on academic courses, Franklin offers a specialized class in military science, enriching students with a unique perspective. The remaining schedule is filled with diverse academic subjects, allowing students to explore their interests and passions. Elective courses in Spanish, chorus, band, art, and business and information technology provide additional opportunities for growth and self-discovery.

History of Franklin Military School (FMA)

Franklin Military School (FMA) embarked on its journey in August 1980, marking the dawn of a new era in Richmond’s educational landscape. It started operations in the Onslow Minnis Building at 701 North 37th Street, Richmond, Virginia 23223. Franklin Military Academy proudly stands as the nation’s inaugural public military school, offering an alternative high school program that combines academic rigor with the Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (JROTC).

The idea’s inception for a public military academy dates back to 1976 when Superintendent Richard Hunter and the Richmond School Board initiated discussions on its potential benefits. A community survey indicated strong support for the concept, leading to collaborative discussions with the United States Army. Over a meticulous four-year planning process, the idea gained traction. In 1980, the school board took a decisive step by converting the old Franklin School building into the newly established military school in Virginia.

A Commitment to Excellence

The establishment of Franklin Military Academy in Virginia demanded meticulous attention to detail, especially in selecting administrators, faculty, and staff. Colonel W. Frank Combo, a seasoned educator with eighteen years of experience in public and military schools, assumed the role of the first commandant. The teaching staff comprised experienced teachers, including two with prior military experience. These educators brought expertise and a commitment to wearing military uniforms and participating in drills.

Admission to Franklin Military Academy was not an open door; students underwent screening and application processes. In August 1980, the military academy opened its doors with a modest enrollment of 130 ninth-grade students. Each subsequent year witnessed the addition of a new ninth-grade class, and by 1983, FMA had evolved into a comprehensive high school serving grades 9-12.

The Franklin Military Academy Experience

Franklin Military Academy (FMA) operates on a foundation of strict military-style discipline. Its individualized instruction maintains a low teaching ratio of 15:1, ensuring students receive personalized attention. Military Science, a core curriculum component, is prominently in every student’s schedule. The remaining classes offer a rich tapestry of academic subjects, and students can explore elective courses in languages, statistics, business, arts, and music.

Franklin Military Academy, VA, is not just a school; it’s a nurturing environment where transfer and dropout rates remain impressively low. Students find the educational experience unique and rewarding, reflected in their active participation in drill teams, sports, school clubs, and community organizations. It serves as a natural pathway for those aspiring to pursue careers in the military.

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Shaping Future Leaders Through Comprehensive Training

At the core of Franklin Military Academy’s educational ethos lies a commitment to holistic development, and this commitment extends beyond the classroom. While the academy proudly offers a robust military-oriented education through the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (JROTC), it goes a step further. Franklin’s dedication to nurturing well-rounded individuals is exemplified by its public safety program, a unique initiative that aligns with the training programs employed by local police and firefighters. This program enhances students’ knowledge and establishes vital connections with the broader community.

How to Apply For Admission Into Franklin Military Academy

Franklin Military Academy, a distinguished RPS specialty school, beckons students to embark on a unique educational journey. Unlike traditional admissions, prospective students must complete an application, marking their first stride toward joining this exceptional institution.

The application process for specialty schools within the RPS system has been streamlined to provide a seamless experience for students and their families. It begins with a single shared application, accessible at Enroll RPS ( This standard application is the gateway to multiple specialty schools, including Franklin Military Academy. Through this centralized approach, students can efficiently submit their applications to several schools.

The common application consists of several vital components that allow students to present their qualifications effectively. These components include two teacher recommendations, offering insights into students’ academic prowess and character. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to submit one essay, although this requirement is waived for rising 6th graders at Franklin Military Academy. Completing the application also entails providing a concise, short essay response, allowing students to express their aspirations and motivations.

The annual application window for RPS specialty schools typically opens in October, so prospective students and their families should watch for enrollment notices. It’s important to note that specialty school applications strictly adhere to deadlines, and late submissions cannot be accepted.

Once applications have been submitted, the specialty schools to which students have applied will initiate contact to guide them through the subsequent steps in the selection process. This personalized approach ensures that each candidate is given the attention they deserve as they embark on their educational journey.

Prospective students and their families can visit the School Applications homepage for comprehensive information about the application process, including essential dates and informative sessions. Franklin Military Academy stands ready to welcome dedicated individuals who seek to nurture their potential, shape their character, and embrace a future filled with discipline, leadership, and academic excellence.

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Franklin Military Academy Tuition Fees

At Franklin Military Academy, pursuing excellence in education comes without the financial burden of tuition fees. The academy is committed to providing a high-quality educational experience that is accessible to all, irrespective of financial considerations.

Prospective students and their families can take solace in the fact that at Franklin Military Academy, academic opportunity and personal growth are not restricted by tuition fees. This commitment underscores the academy’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment where every student has the chance to thrive.

Franklin Military Academy’s stance on tuition fees reflects its broader mission—to prepare students for academic and professional success while promoting discipline, leadership, and community engagement values. By removing financial barriers, the academy ensures that these values are within reach for all who aspire to join its ranks.

Franklin Military Academy Ranking in 2023/24

  1. National Rankings: Proudly holding position #3,071 nationally, showcasing dedication to academic excellence.
  2. Virginia High Schools: Ranking impressively at #72 among Virginia’s High Schools, reflecting statewide influence.
  3. Richmond Metro Area: In Richmond, VA Metro Area, securing the #11 spot among High Schools is a testament to local impact.
  4. Richmond City Public Schools: Positioned at #3 among High Schools in Richmond City Public Schools, showcasing its role in the local educational landscape.

Franklin Military Academy’s consistent presence in these rankings underscores its commitment to preparing students for college and beyond while fostering academic excellence and community impact.


As we draw the curtain on this insightful exploration of Franklin Military Academy, it becomes evident that this institution is not merely a school but a testament to the enduring values of discipline, leadership, and academic excellence.

From its pioneering inception in 1980 as the first public military school in the United States, Franklin Military Academy has been on a relentless journey to nurture the holistic development of its students. Its commitment to excellence, reflected in its impressive rankings, showcases a legacy of dedication and impact that extends beyond state borders.

Franklin Military Academy is a shining example of how tradition and innovation coexist harmoniously. The academy offers a distinctive and enriching educational journey by seamlessly blending military training principles with a comprehensive educational curriculum. It equips its students with the tools for academic achievement and the essential qualities of responsibility, leadership, and a profound sense of community.

In conclusion, Franklin Military Academy’s story is one of tradition, discipline, and unwavering commitment to excellence. It continues to shape futures with dedication, preparing students for a world filled with opportunities, challenges, and the enduring values that will guide them throughout their lives.

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