Category Archives: Outside the Classroom

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.

Help Build New Mexico Military Institute’s Archival Collection

The New Mexico Military Institute Archives would like to invite the NMMI Community to play an active role in documenting their history by donating physical and/or digital materials to the NMMI Archives permanent collection.

The NMMI Archives is currently digitizing student publications and seeks donations of historical copies of the Pup Tent, the Hill, the Sally Port, and/or the Maverick. If you have any of these or other student publications or NMMI related materials in your personal archives, your donation would be greatly appreciated. All donated materials will be preserved, digitized, and made accessible on-line.

The New Mexico Military Institute Archives at the Paul Horgan Library collects and preserves NMMI records of permanent historical and administrative value.  The Archival Collection is available to the public and consists of a wide range of materials including photographs, letters, documents, memorabilia, and audio-visual material. This varied collection is a great resource for employees, scholars, students, alumni and anyone interested in learning more about NMMI history.

If you are interested in donating to the NMMI Archives, please contact the Archivist at or visit the NMMI Archives webpage.

Thanksgiving 2018: A Time to be More Than Thankful

By: Brigadier General Douglas Murray, PhD, Chief Academic Officer/Dean of Academics

Each year for the past five years, I have shared my reflections on the meaning of Thanksgiving to us as Americans. My inspiration comes from the anniversaries celebrated during the current year. Many readers might argue that as a nation, there is little to celebrate in 2018. They would point out numerous examples of violence, a polarized society marked by an equally polarized political process, and an attitude that says to disagree with me makes you wrong. Yes, the argument can be compelling, but are these events a true reflection of America? One who did not believe so quoted John Meacham, author of The Soul of America, in a Guest Editorial in the Northwest Florida Daily News. He said, “History shows us that we are frequently vulnerable to fear, bitterness, and strife. The good news is that we have come through such darkness before.” Senator John McCain wrote that America  could meet any challenge “when we start believing in ourselves again and when we remember that our exceptionalism hasn’t anything to do with what we are … but with who we are: A people united by ideals.”

As I look back over the year past, there are three anniversaries that relate to this thought: the 10th Anniversary of the ending of World War I in 1918, the 50th Anniversary of what Time Magazine called “the year that shaped a generation, 1968, and the 50th anniversary of the television airing of “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” in 1968. Together, they highlight some of the darkest hours in our history, and how we came through them. That is what makes us Americans and deserves our gratitude this Thanksgiving.

On November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed ending the Great War. The celebration that began that day is marked each year since as Veteran’s Day. This year, in fact, there was a grand celebration in France. The horror of that war led President Wilson in 1918 to turn to the ideals in our Constitution and propose a way other than war to resolve conflict. That proposal became the League of Nations, which, while not preventing World War II, did offer the model for what became the United Nations.

This year, we also marked the 50th anniversary of the year that the Wall Street Journal called “the year America came apart.” Some in our society and media would characterize 2018 the same way. Lance Morrow, in his 1988 written essay, explains the Wall Street characterization. He writes, “American culture and politics ventured into dangerous and experimental regions…Nineteen sixty-eight was a tragedy and horrific entertainment: deaths of heroes, uprisings, suppressions, the end of dreams, blood in the streets of Chicago, and Paris, and Saigon.” We emerged from those challenges in 1968 ever the more stronger. One year later, we landed a man on the moon, and twenty years later, ended the more than eight decades of the Soviet threat to the free world, and ended the cold war. In 2015, I wrote in this newspaper, “Resolutely, each time we as a nation have been challenged; we have met and overcome the adversity. Doing so has bettered us.” And, that is something quite significant to be thankful for on this holiday.

No person better reflects that spirit than Fred Rogers who in 1968 invited the world to visit his neighborhood. In it, he introduced the audience, particularly the children, to the values and principles that characterize the American culture and literally in the words of the Time article above, “shaped a generation.” Is it more than coincidence that in 1968 – that year of darkness- there should emerge Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, which in the words of one analyst created “a balm of kindness and empathy in divisive times.” Fred Rogers’ legacy reflects the spirit and commitment of the American people to strive to be ever more than they could be. As a people, and as a nation that is something to celebrate as we sit down with family and friends for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Finally, Fred Rogers’ legacy suggests one more thing we should do as part of celebrating this holiday.  He talked to the children about America, and his example must inspire us to spend some time to talk to our children and grandchildren about the real meaning of this holiday and why it is a uniquely American holiday. Many of our youth do not know the story of America, of a nation dedicated to the freedom, rights, and dignity of the individual and the first government in history based upon the consent of the governed rather than the authority of a king, czar, or emperor. Surveys of our youth reflect acceptance of authoritarian governments. A World Values Survey in 2011 indicated nearly 25% of Americans between 16 and 24 felt a democracy was not the best way to run a country. That must change. Ben Franklin, upon being asked following the Constitutional Convention, “What have we got a republic or a monarchy?” responded, “A republic if you can keep it.” Something to also think about this Thanksgiving day.


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.