Emily Hubbell

Roswell Daily Record (NM) – Friday, August 6, 2010

When Tania and Lance Kordis watched their son, Daniel, march out of New Mexico Military Institute ‘s gymnasium, past the barracks and across campus with about 10 other new cadets on Thursday, they knew the Institute was different from the average school.

“This is well-oiled. What would it take for our kids to stand like that?” commented Lance, a former high school teacher.

Tania, who teaches high school art education, said the Institute ‘s expectation that cadets be prepared for class every day is “a dream.”

The family made the trek from Red River this week to attend NMMI’s matriculation day and orientation ceremony. Tania said it was her son’s decision to attend NMMI, where he will now officially be enrolled for his junior year of high school.

“We’re from a very small, rural high school. There were significant staff cuts at the high school,” she said. “It won’t prepare him for what he wants to do.”

As their son waited in line for matriculation to begin, he said he was “excited and nervous.” Daniel, 16, said the training and academics at NMMI drew him to enroll.

Daniel and hundreds of other new cadets filtered through matriculation day on Thursday, and about 1,500 parents gathered for orientation the day before. During a year when NMMI officials are projecting the school’s first increased enrollment in a decade, Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, NMMI superintendent, streamlined the process to make it as smooth as possible for parents and cadets.

“I’m a process guy. Things have to flow,” he said.

Carl Hansen, NMMI marketing director and public information officer, said part of the matriculation process is comforting parents’ apprehension about leaving their kids for the first time.

“For parents, we have to provide assurance that, one, they’ve done the right thing, and two, that we’re going to respond and take care of their kids,” he said.

For the Kordis, everything went smoothly during matriculation day – except for saying goodbye to their son.

“We’re calm and happy, for the moment. …For him to want this and to choose this, we’re very proud,” she said.

Reprinted with permission.

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