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Portland Hill Military Academy, USA – History, Campus Life, Admission Requirements

Hill Military Academy was a private, college preparatory military academy in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. It was a leading military boarding school in the Pacific Northwest when it opened in 1901. Initially located in Northwest Portland, it was later relocated to Rocky Butte, where it remained until 1959. Pierce v. Society of Sisters was a case the United States Supreme Court heard.

Keep reading to find out more about Hill Military Academy in the United States.

History of Hill Military Academy

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Portland Hill Military Academy, USA - History, Campus Life, Admission Requirements 2

Image Source: Wikipedia

Hill Military Academy was a prominent military school in Portland, Oregon, during the first half of the twentieth century. Joseph Wood Hill (1856-1930), the school’s founder, modeled the private boy’s secondary school after similar institutions in the United States. Like other supporters of military training for young boys at the time, Hill believed that such institutions instilled discipline and prepared students by placing them “in actual life situations where [they] must make decisions.” In 1925, the Hill Military Academy was a party in the landmark Supreme Court case Pierce v. Society of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Hill, a Yale University graduate, arrived in Portland in 1878 to take over as headmaster of Bishop Scott Grammar and Divinity School, an Episcopal school for boys. Bishop Thomas Fielding Scott, the school’s founder, had previously led other Episcopal schools, including William Richmond’s school in Yamhill and the Trinity School for Boys in Lake Oswego. Hill converted Bishop Scott into Bishop Scott Academy, a military school complete with uniforms and drills, in 1887.

Hill was embroiled in a dispute with the Episcopal diocese in 1901, so he left Bishop Scott Academy and established Hill Military Academy on Northwest Twenty-Fourth Avenue and Marshall Street in Portland. When he retired in 1911, his son James A. Hill took over as headmaster and managed the school. 

The school and its large armory were well-known landmarks in the neighborhood, hosting dances and sporting events. The academy added a flight school in 1927, operated at the Lewis and Clark airstrip in Northwest Portland before moving to Swan Island Airport. The school relocated to a 150-acre campus at the north end of Rocky Butte in 1931.

The school is best known as a co-litigant in the Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary case before the United States Supreme Court. The Society of Sisters, a religious teaching institute, filed a lawsuit against Oregon’s governor in 1925 to overturn the 1922 Compulsory Public School Attendance Bill, which prohibited Oregon children from attending private schools. To ensure that a nonparochial school was represented, the Knights of Columbus underwrote Hill Military Academy’s participation in the case. On June 5, 1925, the Court unanimously ruled that Oregon’s school bill violated the United States Constitution. Its Chief Justice at the time was William Howard Taft, a Yale classmate and longtime friend of Joseph Wood Hill.

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Hill Military Academy Contribution to World Wars

Hill Military Academy graduates served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II. The institution suffered a setback in 1942 when Capt. Joseph Adams Hill II, the founder’s grandson and the likely successor to his father as headmaster, was killed in North Africa. Following a long period of declining enrollment, Hill Military Academy closed in 1959.

Joseph Wood Hill, the academy’s founder, was born on May 28, 1856, in Westport, Connecticut, and raised there. He attended the Selleck School in Norwalk before enrolling at Yale University in 1874, where he graduated with honors in 1878. Hill then relocated to Oregon, where he was hired in 1879 as the headmaster of the Bishop Scott grammar school in Portland. Hill received his Doctor of Medicine from Willamette University College of Medicine in 1881 while serving as headmaster. In 1887, the grammar school was renamed Bishop Scott Academy, and Hill became principal of the expanded school that year, serving until 1901.

Campus Life at Hill Military Academy

The original Hill Military Academy campus was in a residential neighborhood in northwest Portland. The campus had two buildings: the main structure and an armory. The two-story armory was 50 by 100 feet in size and housed a drill hall and workshops. Hill’s main structure was four-story with battlements on the exterior wall designed in the Scots Baronial Style. This structure housed the academy’s boarding students.

Students at Hill wore uniforms and took college preparatory and military classes. There were both boarding students and day students at the school. Summer classes were held at camps along the Oregon coast and in the mountains. In the Pacific Northwest, the school was regarded as a pioneer in military education.

Some of the Notable alumni from Hill Military Academi include;

Harry P.Cain:

Harry Pulliam Cain (January 10, 1906 – March 3, 1979) was an American politician who served as a Republican United States Senator from Washington from 1946 to 1953. Cain is best remembered as a senator for his conservative and frequently divisive views.

Cain visited his father in Tacoma before moving to New York City, but he decided to stay when he discovered he was in poor health. He worked at the Tacoma branch of The Bank of California, N.A. (now Union Bank, N.A.) until 1939.

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Cain was appointed festival director when Tacoma was chosen to host the 1939 Golden Jubilee Celebration, commemorating fifty years of Washington statehood. Cain was inspired by the event’s success to run for the non-partisan position of Mayor of Tacoma in a special election to fill the two-year term of the interim mayor, who chose not to run again. Cain, a conservative Democrat, supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt twice but became disillusioned with the New Deal after 1936. 

Cain finished third in the Republican primary. The leading candidate died of a stroke four days before the general election, and Cain’s name was added to the ballot, and he was elected mayor at 34.

Bill Bowerman:

William Jay Bowerman (February 19, 1911 – December 24, 1999) was a co-founder of Nike, Inc. and an American track and field coach. During his career, he coached 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American records, 22 NCAA champions, and 16 sub-4 minute milers.

Bowerman had served in the ROTC and Army Reserve before joining the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent a year at Fort Lawton in Washington before being assigned to the 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment at Camp Hale in Leadville, Colorado. He was a member of the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, which later became part of the 10th Mountain Division.

Bowerman’s responsibilities included organizing the troops’ supplies and maintaining the mules used to transport the stores through the mountains. The division arrived in Naples, Italy, on December 23, 1944, and quickly moved north to the mountains of northern Italy. 

During his tour of duty, Bowerman was promoted to Major and given command of the 86th Regiment’s First Battalion. In the days leading up to the surrender of the German army in all of Italy, Bowerman negotiated a stand-down of German forces near the Brenner Pass. Bowerman was awarded the Silver Star and four Bronze Stars for his service. In October 1945, he was honorably discharged.

How to Apply for Hill Military Academy

If you’re applying online, use the Gateway to Prep Schools or the Standard Application Online (SAO). Applicants will then receive an email containing a link to their Hill online account, where they can track the status of their application and receive an admission decision.

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Interview & Campus Tour: All applicants must have an interview with a Hill School admission representative. We offer on-campus and virtual interviews, as well as campus tours.

Eligibility Requirements to Gain Admission into Hill Military Academy

Third and fourth form (9th and 10th grade) testing requirements Applicants: Students must submit SSAT, ISEE, or PSAT scores.

PSAT, SAT, ACT, or SSAT testing is required for Fifth and Sixth Form (11th and 12th grade) and Post-Graduate applicants.

International Students: Besides the SSAT, all international students for whom English is not their first language must take the TOEFL exam, except applicants who have attended an American and international school in the previous three years.

Recommendations from teachers: English, math, and counselor (or principal) recommendations are required. They prefer that these suggestions come from current-year teachers.

The next admission window will be open from September 13, 2023.

Tuition & Financial Aid in Hill Military Academy

One of the most important aspects of achieving personal happiness is surrounding yourself with people who care about you; The Hill truly is a place where everyone cares about each student.

The Hill School provides financial assistance to families based on their needs and the availability of funds. The Hill School does not offer merit-based scholarships. All awards are given based on the family’s financial/demonstrated need. As a result, no student should be discouraged from applying to The Hill because their family cannot afford the full tuition. Approximately 38% of our current student population annually receives need-based financial assistance, with $7.4 million in grants awarded to Hill School students. 

All application materials are kept strictly confidential to protect our families’ privacy. Tuition for the Academic Year 2023-24:

  • Tuition for boarding students is roughly $73,000; tuition for day students is $50,000.
  • The deadline for financial aid applications is January 15, 2024.

Please remember that boarding student tuition ($72,390) includes all instruction, room and board, on-campus events, health services at the Wellness Center, and some athletics equipment for the 2023-24 academic year. For the 2023-24 academic year, day student tuition ($49,350) includes all instruction, on-campus events, and lunch every day except Sunday.

Students must purchase textbooks and supplies. On the other hand, students who receive financial aid are given assistance in purchasing a laptop. Some electives, athletic activities, music lessons, and other programs may also have additional fees.

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