Unfortunately, Mississippi lost its one college preparatory secondary school that operated as a military academy in 2015. Its status is discussed below. The state has one special secondary-level program with a military orientation.
If you are a parent or student looking for other military-themed alternatives, you may want to check out the opportunities in neighboring Alabama or Louisiana. Or, as noted below, you may find a suitable option in a school offering JROTC or ROTC programs.
Chamberlain-Hunt Academy (Closed)
Port Gibson, MS – All-Male
Three decades before the War Between the States, a school with a proud and revered tradition was founded in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was founded on a combination of Christian and military principles, and was one of the oldest schools in the country that still reflects this heritage.
The school trustees are seeking to reopen the school, but its fate remains uncertain. If you live in Mississippi and want to consider such a school, you may be able to find updates at their website.
Mississippi Youth ChalleNGe Academy
Camp Shelby, MS – Coed
The leaders of Mississippi share a concern with many other states over the large number of students who do not graduate from high school. In Mississippi alone more than 8,000 youth drop out of school each year. This reality means that more than 40 percent of Mississippi residents 25 years old or older did not graduated from high school. Moreover, it is estimated that 87 percent of those incarcerated in the state are dropouts from the educational system.
An Innovative Approach
Congress passed legislation in 1993 as part of the Defense Authorization Act to help address this national problem. Today, the Mississippi National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy is one of 26 state programs that participates in an innovative concept that uses military-based educational training to provide students with necessary life skills and employment training. While the program was originally known as the National Guard Civilian Youth Opportunities Program, it is now more commonly known as ChalleNGe. The program varies a bit by each state, but generally is conducted at a military base. In Mississippi, this is Camp Shelby.
Diversity, Discipline, Dedication
More than 8,000 graduates from 42 classes have succeeded in completing the Mississippi ChalleNGe program. The school student population consists of male & female at-risk youth, 16-18 years of age.
The program has evolved to be one of the most successful approaches to at-risk youth every developed. According to the academy, it ‘adopts features that characterize successful intervention programs: a residential model, strict discipline, structured long-term follow-up, and diverse participants.’ Students go through two separate phases, residential and post-residential.
During the 22-week residential phase students are trained in a demanding military environment. The focus includes academics, but the goals include the development of the whole person. The eight components include such non-traditional subjects as job skills, life-coping skills, and responsible citizenship.
After completing this initial phase, students spend one year in the post-residential regimen. They are assigned a personal mentor and are expected to secure employment while pursuing additional educational training.
A Proud Track Record
Mississippi and other states have achieved significant results with this program, with more than 97 percent of graduates joining the work force, attending college, or joining the military.
If Mississippi National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy sounds like a good alternative for your son or daughter, you can start the application process online. There are specific requirements for being accepted, including passing a drug test and not currently facing legal issues.
The academy seeks to provide its participants with the ability and desire to ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’
Other Opportunities for Military-Oriented Education in Mississippi
Although Mississippi only has one traditional secondary school that provides a military-themed educational environment, you do have some attractive military-environment alternatives in the state. You will find secondary schools throughout the state offering Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. These include units that focus on the Air Force, Marine, Army, and Navy cultures.
These programs offer great insights to the military and military training. Additionally, they are excellent stepping stones to ROTC scholarships and full-ride appointments to federal service academies. Each of the U.S. military services has a program to train future officers in basic military subjects while attending college or university. In exchange for significant scholarships, students commit to a period of service in the respective branch of the military upon graduation. Mississippi has several outstanding ROTC units at its colleges, including Mississippi State, University of Mississippi and William Carey University.