Category Archives: Life After NMMI

Fencers face off in Christmas Classic

 

Roswell septuagenarian Dave Sourk (left) crosses sabers with Lukas, the pre-teen son of NMMI professor Aonan Tang, at the 2018 Christmas Classic Fencing Tournament.

 

Women’s Open Epée champion, Mary Olvera.

NMMI Sports Press

New Mexico Military Institute cadets enrolled in PHEA 1351 took up arms against former cadets and members of the local community, competing in this year’s Christmas Classic Fencing Tournament on Dec. 6, held on the NMMI campus in the Godfrey Athletic Center gym.

Participants donned their distinctive mesh helms and white fencing jackets, then wielded their weapon, vying for a chance to be the tourney’s top sword-slinger.

For this tournament, that blade was an epée, a heavier French version of the foil, designed for unarmored dueling with thrusting or piercing attacks.

“There are three types of weapons used in fencing: the saber, the foil, and the epée,” explained veteran NMMI coach Jan Olesinski. “This competition uses the epée – it is what we teach here in the class, and this tournament serves as the final exam.”

Open Epée champion, cadet Caleb Allen.

Coach ‘O’, as his students affectionately call him, has trained several Olympic athletes, including most recently, Team USA’s Nathan Schrimsher, who placed tenth in the fencing portion of the pentathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“We had 25 competitors this year,” said Olesinski. “It was a diverse group: male, female, young, old. Some are students in this year’s class, a professor and his son here at NMMI, former cadets, members of the Roswell community. All-in-all, a good turnout.”

Competition began with pool play, a fun and raucous affair. Girls joined the fray against boys; kids jousted opponents who towered above them or sported ages surpassing that of their grandfather.

And once the seeds were decided, brackets were drawn up to determine the champions.

NMMI’s Caleb Allen stabbed his way to top honors in the open division, while the swordplay of Roswell’s Mary Olvera took the top spot in the female division.

Complete Results:

Open Epée
Place     Name                                    Team
1              Caleb Allen                          NMMI
2              Christopher Najar             NMMI
3              Even Staeden                     Roswell
4              Jeremy Pinion                   NMMI
5              Dr. Aonan Tang                 Roswell
6              Dylan Begay                       NMMI
7              Owen Gregory                   Roswell
8              Dave Sourk                        Roswell
9              Apodaca Ortega                NMMI
10           Collin Protzeller                 NMMI
11           Jonah Pinon                        Roswell
12           Lukas Tang                         Roswell
13           Joshua Leible                      NMMI

Women’s Epée
Place     Name                                    Team
1              Mary Olvera                       Roswell
2              Tessa Walker                     NMMI
3              Lauren Leonard                NMMI
4              Allison Langowski            NMMI
5              Kayla Sisneros                   NMMI
6              Erin Brindle                       NMMI

Diversity at NMMI

by Cadet MAJ Rojas, 3rd Squadron Executive Officer


I come from Cabo San Lucas, México. That is a very touristic place so I’ve been to bilingual schools my whole life. I’ve been interacting with different people from diverse races, religions and ethnicities. However, things changed when I came here. There is a lot more diversity here than I ever thought I’d be around. I get to see plenty of people from all over the world on a daily basis. I’ve had classes with people from Germany, China, Korea, several African countries, Puerto Rico, and many more places.

Honestly, it’s fun; learning some of their languages, their slang and their culture only results in me wanting to visit all of these places some day. The idea of having friends all over the world is fascinating to me. When you make friends with people from different places you know that you’ll have a place to stay if you ever choose to visit these different places, or at least people to see.

NMMI has taught me that everyone is different, everyone is educated differently and it is possible for all these people to live together teaching each other different values and customs. Diversity is one of the great things in life that we have to experience in order to value it the way it deserves to be valued. This place is the origin of friendships that will extend to great distances and last a lifetime.

The Balance at NMMI

By Cadet Aaron Donkor–from Germany

Being an athlete here at NMMI, one is asked to do more than being in a normal Junior College. Not only will you get held to a standard in Academics and Athletics but also in the Corps of Cadets. This brings another segment you have to balance somehow. Due to this, I believe when I am moving on to the next school, finding a balance between “just” my academics and being an athlete it will be easier due to the high pace here at New Mexico Military Institute.

Learning to find balance goes hand in hand with time management; I believe I’ve improved that skill tremendously. I realized when I went home that I got more done in less time. Furthermore, I improved the skill of patience. I am more able to endure a short time feeling uneasy in order to reach a set goal. All things in life, are going to have parts one is struggling with or does not like. But to overcome challenges and building the habit of success, there is no better place than here at New Mexico Military Institute.

When you picture your dream job, whatever that might be, there are naturally going to be some aspect you have to overcome in order to enjoy the part of the job which are most pleasing for you. Well, I think I developed that skill not to give up and follow through on stuff in order to do the things I love and enjoy.

Recently here at New Mexico Military Institute, it was Homecoming, which brought many alumni back to share their experience. This opened my eyes again, that people really appreciate their experience at New Mexico Military Institute after they are gone. These alumni are living a better life now, due to their experience at New Mexico Military Institution.

NMMI Scholars Program: Building the Citizen Leaders of Tomorrow

By: LTC Kalith Smith, Director of Toles Learning Resource Center

Several years ago, I was tasked with setting up a program for talented and driven students at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). It was a daunting task. How do you take a curriculum that has been vetted and improved over the course of 125 years and make it even more challenging? To read more about the program we developed, click here.

We determined the key issue was building a student’s ability to think critically across the spectrum. Challenging to be sure, but what we identified as the skill that our most successful alumni possess was being able to try new things, and, regardless of success or failure, build on those results and do it while creating, living and breathing teamwork. This was recently highlighted as Laura Entis (2017) wrote about what Fortune 500 executives are looking for in their employees: team players who can dream big and work with others to achieve a goal ethically and keep moving forward no matter the obstacles. Our challenge, in short – how do we develop the citizen-leaders that will guide the nation in the coming century?

Creating an environment where students would learn to follow rules and learn the importance of the structure that is a constant at military school while challenging themselves academically is tough. A team comprised of all the Department Chairs developed the curriculum that would be somewhat flexible, dependent on the Scholar’s intended thesis topic. A student would have to take the necessary courses, but they could accelerate their studies in a subject area of interest. The team keyed in on utilizing the summer for students to continue to challenge themselves. We decided to accelerate English so all of the students who enter the program after their 9th grade year will work incredibly hard over the summer to complete sophomore English, then enroll in junior English as 10th graders. This initial test of will is necessary for students to determine if this challenging curriculum is right for them.

For the second summer, we needed a program that would push students to consider not just what was in a textbook but the roots of our knowledge. To question everything and consider better alternatives, students needed to learn how Western thought was derived. Answering the question of how we ended up here as a civilization seemed crucial in considering where we were going. The decision was made that St. John’s College’s Great Books Program would provide the groundwork, as students could choose an academic topic that interested them and find out what the entire timeline of thought on the topic considered. Recently St. John’s College was singled out in American higher education in being “contrarian,” helping students to think differently, to not just fall into the trap of believing what they are taught, but to learn the fundamentals of how we think. As noted in the New York Times (Bruni, 2018), Walter Sterling, the Dean of the Santa Fe campus noted:

Your work and career are a part of your life…Education should prepare you for all of your life. It should make you a more thoughtful, reflective, self-possessed and authentic citizen, lover, partner, parent and member of the global economy.

As fate would have it, success breeds success. As NMMI considered how to build a more global student body, we were presented with study-abroad opportunities that are unique and provide not only an immersion experience overseas but an immersion experience at some phenomenal boarding schools. The Scholars are poised to be the first to take advantage of these new opportunities, as their hard work and tenacity have been proven over two summers of intellectually challenging offerings. In creating our future citizen-leaders, NMMI believes in the power of our global community, and studying in another country provides an experience that cannot be replicated.

The class of 2018 saw the first two students complete the entire Scholars Program, including completing challenging coursework and writing a thesis. Each student related their area of interest to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This culmination of the Scholars Experience is key to being “freed” from a way of thinking that all too often in American education is locked into learning as it is needed for a test versus breaking free from the confines of the traditional model and pushing yourself farther. In the hands of these young people, the future of the American Experience is bright. As we always have, we choose to break free of our confines and imagine the possibilities. I can only imagine the shadows that the Founding Fathers saw on the wall, but they signed the Declaration anyway. How trying were the times of Lincoln, but the Emancipation Proclamation was made and its wake fundamentally changed our nation. How challenging were they days of Dr. King, but he saw a future where we would all be, “free at last”.

The next great American leaders are in our classrooms, practice fields and dining halls today. We don’t know the challenges of the future, but we do know that, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” Winston Churchill. We are still a home to tomorrow’s leaders and these young cadets have the foundation to change the world.

To help support future Scholars through the NMMI Foundation, please contact Kris Ward in Development at 575-624-8158 or wardk@nmmi.edu.

NMMI Receives High Marks from AdvancED Assessment

School Cited Again for Continuing Educational Excellence

New Mexico Military Institute received accreditation for the maximum period by AdvancED, the largest community of education professionals in the world–a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. “While our (AdvancED’s) expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Our goal isn’t to certify that educational institutions are good enough. Rather, our commitment is to help these institutions continuously improve.”

Of 31 Institution ratings across three Domains (Leadership, Learning, Resource), NMMI received 0 (zero) findings of “Needs Improvement” and 23 findings of “Exceeds Expectations.” NMMI was cited for three Powerful Practices: 1) Commitment to NMMI’s Strategic Plan; 2) A strong, formalized system of supportive adults dedicated to student success; and 3) effective and efficient use of resources in support of NMMI’s mission. Powerful Practices reflect noteworthy observations and actions that have yielded clear results in student achievement or organizational effectiveness and are actions that exceed what is typically observed or expected in an institution.

 AdvancED performed their review of NMMI early in 2018 and released their findings recently with, “It was evident throughout the review that continuous improvement was valued as a driving force for NMMI.”  Furthermore, “The (AdvancED) Team recognized that the New Mexico Military Institute is a magnificent guided testing site to carry out the institution’s mission and vision.  It is emphatically poised for even higher levels of excellence.  Centering future growth on the actions in this review has the potential to propel the institution to its desired internal level of excellence and distinction, making it a sustainable, replicable model across the world.”

Accreditation is not a one-time event. AdvancED-accredited schools must commit to continuous improvement every year and be re-accredited every five years. Accreditation is intended to protect schools, employers, and students. It guarantees that a particular high school is teaching its students at a level that is acceptable nationally.

Thus, when students acquire an NMMI diploma, they can be assured that colleges will accept it and recognize NMMI’s inherent educational value. Similarly, when colleges accept students, they can be assured that an NMMI cadet/scholar has received a quality education from an accredited school.

Located in Roswell, New Mexico, the New Mexico Military Institute offers a rich history and tradition of educating tomorrow’s leaders through a program of strong, challenging academics, leadership preparation, and character development. Known as “The West Point of the West,” NMMI remains the only land-grant co-educational college preparatory high school and junior college in The United States. Serving the educational needs of an international student population, the Institute has strict admissions standards that yearly result in an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students who come from more than 36 states, 2 US territories (Puerto Rico and American Samoa), and 33 foreign nations.

NMMI grants High School diplomas and Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. The Institute’s emphasis on qualities of honor, integrity, and responsibility, contributes to its unique educational philosophy. Leadership training is provided to all cadets at the college level, through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, and at the high school level through the Junior ROTC program. The ROTC Program offers college cadets the opportunity to receive a commission in the U.S. Army through the 2-Year Early Commissioning Program. Cadets may pursue commissions in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines through the Service Academy Preparatory Program.

NMMI graduates prove successful in every field of endeavor, business, industry, public service, education, the professions, or careers in the military. National statistics and surveys of graduating classes show consistently that 95 percent of NMMI graduates go on to complete a four-year degree at outstanding schools such as Penn State, Stanford, Rice, Cornell, University of Texas, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, and the nation’s Service Academies.