If you are evaluating military school options in Alabama, you’ll find two excellent choices that operate as private schools. These include a well-respected military junior college, Marion Military Institute, and an historic secondary school, Lyman Ward.
Lyman Ward is one of the 13 boarding schools that remain as male-only military institutions in the U.S.
Marion Military Institute
Marion, AL – Coed
Known to graduates and locals as MMI, tradition seeps from every aspect of Marion Military Institute’s 180 acres. Located mid-state in the city of Marion, MMI is known for its success in its graduates receiving admission to U.S. service academies.
In fact, the school has a special Service Academy Preparation Program (SAP) that helps students prepare for acceptance to West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), Colorado Springs (Air Force) and the Coast Guard Academy. The school sees a number of its cadets accepted by these federal academies each year, with the class of 2015 earning a total of 80 appointments.
Direct Routes to Officer Commissions
In addition to service academy appointments, the school also provides two years of training for cadets interested in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, as well as the Army’s Early Commissioning Program (ECP). Students who qualify and complete this program offered through the Army Reserve Officers Training Corp can earn a commission as a Second Lieutenant after just two, instead of the standard four, years of college. Those cadets desiring a commission in the United States Marine Corps can pursue that goal by participating in the USMC Platoon Leaders Course.
While MMI is a private school, many parents find they are able to cover 50 percent to 100 percent of the tuition to attend the school through various scholarships and programs. The payments from the military training programs and federal financial aid make the MMI education affordable for many qualified students.
Diversity is Valued
The student body at MMI, referred to as the Corps, runs just under 500. The Corps is quite diverse, with the male-female ration roughly 4-to-1. More than 40 percent of the attendees are minorities.
MMI is held in high regard among the military and civilian community. One indication of this respect is the location of the Alabama Military Hall of Honor on its grounds. The state founded the Hall at Marion to honor all Alabamians who distinguish themselves in the Unites States Armed Forces.
A popular new addition to the school’s curriculum is an extracurricular flight training program for qualified cadets.
Lyman Ward Military Academy
Camp Hill, AL – All-Male
Designated an Alabama Historic Site, the roots of Lyman Ward go back to 1898, when it was founded with the purpose of ‘Preparing young men for the work of life.’ The school transitioned to its status as a military academy in 1955.
Students attend Lyman Ward for education in grades 6 to 12, and a primary focus of the educational process is twofold. First, the curriculum is directed to prepare students for success in college-level work and, secondly, the goal is to develop leadership skills through a concept of ‘Servant Leadership.’
Focused on Values and Academics
Members of the faculty of the school are selected for their effectiveness as educators and their commitment to the school’s non-denominational Christian values. There is a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1. Accreditation is provided by the Alabama Independent School Association, and Lyman Ward is also a member of other prestigious organizations, including the Association of Military Schools and Colleges in the United States (AMSCUS).
Located in rural mid-Alabama, the school boasts of 300 acres of countryside and facilities, though it is only 19 miles from Auburn University and a modern acute care hospital. Activities offered include competitive rifle marksmanship, a participant in the Alabama Northeast Area Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Rifle League.
School Clubs at LWMA
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A popular activity is the school color guard, known for its success in JROTC programs and competitions throughout the state. For the younger students, an active 4H program is provided.
With its military perspective, the faculty helps students develop not only academically, but in areas of spiritual and physical growth. Parents find Lyman Ward an excellent option for boys who desire and need ‘to improve their focus, study habits and academic standing.’
Admission and Tuition
Admission is open to any boy who is entering grades 6 to 12, and the annual costs include tuition, fees and room and board. Graduates of Lyman Ward have high acceptance rates to colleges and universities. Many graduates go on to pursue careers in the U.S. armed forces.
Quality over Quantity
While Alabama presents only these two options for military school education, they represent uncompromising quality. Parents from Alabama and throughout the U.S. find an excellent educational choice from sixth grade thru junior college. Although you won’t find any options for senior military colleges in Alabama, nearby Georgia offers both senior and a junior military schools.