Positive transformations are common at Riverside Military Academy (RMA). Located in Gainesville, Georgia, young men arrive here from across the globe to embark on an educational journey of a lifetime. Once exposed to RMA’s core values of integrity, loyalty, respect, and duty, they reach their full potential. One conversation with Luis Antonio Alcerreca Joaquin from Cozumel, Mexico, and you’ll understand why.
For him, RMA is in his DNA. Many of the men in his family are proud graduates. Despite being ready to make memories of his own, the jitters got stronger the closer he got to the 200-acre campus he would soon call home. Thankfully, students and teachers were quick to put his worries to rest. In a matter of days, Joaquin was one of them –– and proud to be.
Peep through the windows of video production or photography classes or find a seat on the soccer field sidelines, and you’ll see that this student is anything but shy. In fact, he’s an ROC commander, Squad Leader, and Platoon Sergeant with big dreams to continue leading once he returns to Mexico for college.
With the virtues he’s gained so far, there’s no stopping him. “Learning responsibility has helped me prepare for my future,” he says. “Learning respect has helped me treat others the way I want to be treated. Finally, learning integrity has helped me to truly distinguish right from wrong.”
This is the kind of growth an RMA experience inspires. Founded in 1907, this college preparatory boarding school ensures all its cadets develop the confidence to emerge as scholars, athletes and leaders of character –– prepared to succeed in college, university and anything else they set their mind to.
Several factors play significant roles in their growth. From rigorous academics, and an array of leadership opportunities to competitive athletics and an extensive lineup of co-curricular activities –– each was designed to highlight the benefits of structure and instil the discipline that military models are renowned for. Collectively, it is an experience that enables students to achieve their full potential early on.
The nurturing begins as early as sixth grade for boys in RMA’s middle school. Drawing principles in single-gender teaching from The Gurian Institute, faculty members leverage hands-on teaching, problem-solving, and collaborative exercises across the curriculum. Even meals, athletics, and co-curricular activities are conducted in ways that ensure their age group’s social, physical, mental, and academic needs are met.
Although Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is reserved for high school students, middle school students are still introduced to the basics of military-style leadership. The exposure ensures smooth progress all around. Once it’s time, invigorated and ready, they begin college prep alongside their seniors.
Beginning his RMA journey as an eighth-grader, Jiachen Yan from Hong Kong didn’t get to enjoy this transitional period. However, his story proves that joining RMA as a high schooler is just as impactful. Dubbing himself as “lazy” upon arriving, he never expected to soon take on the roles of vice president of his senior class, the student senate, and member of the armed drill team. In his free time, he coached the junior varsity drill team.
Like a true innovator, the competitive gamer even founded the school’s esports club to prove that gamers aren’t inherently irresponsible or unmotivated. True enough, he graduated with a 4.15 GPA. What better way to lead by example?
Soon, he plans to major in biology, focusing on biomedical engineering in sunny California – where his father’s medical business’s US hub is located. Yan, now 18, sees himself owning the branch and guiding its North American expansion in the long run.
He credits his RMA experience for helping him develop the habits, work ethic, time management skills, and dedication that will help him get there. “I see myself differently from three years ago or four years ago,” he says.
Future-focused programmes for future-proof success
For those who need a little help identifying their callings, a suite of programmes are available to serve as guiding lights –– some of which are especially relevant. Take the Cybersecurity programme, for instance –– the result of a passionate discussion between two alumni and Colonel Stanley C. “Staś” Preczewski, RMA’s president.
Together, they aimed to enhance the market competitiveness of their tech enthusiast cadets. The programme enables them to graduate with a CompTIA industry certificate before entering college or the booming sector with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes needed to excel and stand out.
RMA’s Aerospace Engineering programme is just as robust, specifically designed for students curious about the design and flight of aircraft and spacecraft vehicles. The four-course curriculum –– developed by several RMA alumni who are currently recreational pilots –– enables students to explore, design, build, test, and analyse the science behind the forces and physical properties of planes, rockets, and unmanned vehicles.
With this progressive approach to education, historic values and a vibrant college-like campus –– little wonder why international students flock to RMA every year. Currently, its student body represents 30 countries and 30 US states. If you wish to join this diverse community and attain the coveted title of “cadet,” click here to begin your journey.