Newly graduated cadets from the New Mexico Military Academy celebrate and embrace one another following commencement ceremonies Saturday at Stapp Field on the school campus. (Mark Wilson Photo)


Matthew Arco 

Sunday, May 16, 2010 

Many cadets at New Mexico Military Institute became alumni Saturday morning, during the Institute’s 116th Commencement Program. 

Family, friends and school staff gathered under grey skies on Stapp Field to send more than 200 graduates out into the world. Some of the cadets may return to the Institute to earn their associate’s degrees, while others will move on from The Hill. 

“Corps of Cadets, it has been my pleasure to be your regimental commander,” said Cadet Col. Luis Martinez-Medellin, graduating cadet, to his classmates. “Over the years I was tested … (and) I want to thank everybody who was ever there for me.” 

Tracy Kelly, of Oklahoma, and a member of the Classes of 1944 and 1946, addressed the cadets and recounted some of his experiences at the Institute. He was the only two-time regimental commander in the school’s history. 

“I think it’s marvelous. I’m delighted we’re preparing young people in the military environment,” he said. “The cream of the crop and the top of the line. That’s why I’m proud to be here today and to be from here.” 

The audience heard from the school’s graduating cadets about how the Institute prepared the young men and women appropriately for their future endeavors. 

“Every single one of us came to NMMI with a different goal in mind,” said Brandon Miller, valedictorian of the First Class. “Whatever it is your goals are in life, you should feel prepared and confident.” 

Another graduate shed light on the long-lasting friendships that are sure to come from their experiences over the past few years. 

“We graduates, have much to be thankful for,” said Daniel Mendes, valedictorian of the Third Class. “The friendships that we’ve made here will last a lifetime.” 

Maj. Gen. Jerry W. Grizzle, NMMI superintendent, took the opportunity to thank the cadets for being a part of his first year at the school. 

“For me, it’s a blessing. It’s the end of my RAT year,” said Grizzle, referring to the term used to describe a cadet’s first year at the Institute. “Thank you for making my first year enjoyable and memorable.” 

Reprinted with permission.

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