Category Archives: Teacher Talk

As the Term Comes to a Close…

By LTC Kalith Smith, Associate Dean Cadet Academic Services Division/Director of the TLRC

When the final few moments of a term filled with hard work, sweat, tears of joy (and occasionally the agony of defeat) comes to a close and the last rays of a setting sun fill empty rows of books, I remember. It is always at this moment where the clarity of the struggle is made clear. It is isn’t the grade, but the journey. Not the conference championship, but the camaraderie. Not the new position in the Corps, but those family, friends, mentors and challenges that made you strong enough to accept the challenge. As one semester comes to a close at this extraordinary institution, I remember all of the Cadets, alumni, faculty and staff that make the journey possible and I am glad to be a small part of the legacy that is NMMI.

Happy Holidays from NMMI!

On behalf of everyone at New Mexico Military Institute, we wish you and your family a very joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Outstanding performance over Fall Family Weekend earns Corps of Cadets a free rev

Below is an email excerpt from NMMI Commandant Jonathan Graff, sent out to NMMI faculty, staff and the Corps of Cadets:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This last weekend represented a significant milestone for this year’s Recruits. Not only was this Fall Family Weekend, but it was also the time for Recruits to transition to New Cadet status. This year 455 cadets started the semester as Recruits at Training (RATs). Of this number, 431 were able to meet the rigorous challenge of becoming a member of the Corps of Cadets. We are all very proud of their accomplishment.

Throughout the past seven weeks, the Cadet leadership has been responsible for training and ensuring that each Recruit knows, understands, and meets the standards required to be a member of the Corps of Cadets. These standards are:

– Live by the Honor Code and demonstrate high ethical and moral standards.
– Demonstrate self-control, self-discipline, and respect for authority.
– Demonstrate military bearing and social etiquette.
– Accept responsibility and accountability for your own actions.
– Show consideration for others and respect for diversity.
– Learn the Institute’s customs, traditions, and regulations.
– Demonstrate attention to detail and the ability to organize and use one’s time effectively and efficiently.
– Complete the physical fitness test, set goals for physical readiness development and demonstrate a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.
– Demonstrate the ability to be a good follower, a good team member, and establish goals for leadership and character development.
– Avoid high risk behavior.
– Demonstrate a strong work ethic, and the desire to learn and achieve academic excellence.
– Live by the NMMI core values of Duty, Honor, and Achievement.

The Cadet Chain of Command has recommended to the Regimental Commander that each Recruit be elevated to the status of New Cadet. New Cadet privileges include:

– Wearing of the black New Cadet boards with the NMMI crest
– Wearing of earned awards on the B w/Brass and Class A uniforms
– Use of the game room on weekends

General Permit for New Cadets on following weekends is contingent on the conduct and performance of RAT duties through the following weeks. General Permit for New Cadets will be based on recommendation from the Cadet chain of command. New Cadets are expected to work together as a class to achieve and maintain high standards.

Presentation of the New Cadet Boards signifies official acceptance of Recruits into the Corps of Cadets. Congratulations, New Cadets!

On that note, the Corps performed outstandingly across the board over this weekend. Rooms and uniforms were excellent during the formal inspections. The “Best Squad” competition was performed to JROTC Drill Competition standard, and even had to be cut short as rigorous standards pushed the competition up into parade prep time. The Corps went straight from the squad competition to the parade field with barely a break, and despite the heat, only three cadets fell out. This parade was one of the best any of us have seen, even though it was the first parade of the year. Your hard work has paid off.

Parents, visitors and alumni who spoke with the staff this weekend were thrilled with the growth and positive experiences their cadets were having. One distinguished alumnus stated that the standards and performance of the Corps were outstanding and very much the same as what he experienced as a Cadet at NMMI. That is quite a compliment to you all.

In recognition of this outstanding performance, I am granting the Corps a Free Rev on Wednesday, 27 September.

I am very proud of the conduct of the Corps over the weekend and especially of the leaders who helped to achieve this standard. You are making some amazing things happen!

Keep leading by example,
LTC Graff

Jonathan K. Graff, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, (Ret)
Commandant of Cadets / Dean of Students
New Mexico Military Institute

Financing the Education of Your Dreams

By: Kalith Smith, Director of Admission New Mexico Military Institute

Last year I celebrated the arrival of the entering class of 2016 with a day at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, NM. The Office of Admission had worked hard to bring in the class, but I had my phone forwarded to me just in case. I didn’t expect anything too earth shattering to happen. Then my phone rang. As I helped my kids understand the history that carved out Carlsbad Caverns, the voice on the other end asked a few simple questions, “My nephew was supposed to come to NMMI for matriculation, but we had a funeral. Can he still come? What would he need to have pulled together?” I explained to his Aunt that based on his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all high school seniors should fill out online at, the student was getting an incredible value. He was receiving aid and scholarships based on his admission, his academic ability and his financial need, but the student did not understand. This student had started his journey to NMMI during an annual trip with the Pinon, Arizona JROTC Cadets to NMMI as part of the Navajo Nation Reservation. But when thinking about NMMI for college—he saw Roswell, NM as a bridge too far. But when his Aunt found out that the pieces for his future—especially financially could come together–he was on the road to NMMI! His family went all out to make sure he didn’t miss the opportunity.

Fast forward to December when his mom and grandmother picked him up for winter break. I had asked to meet them, so he brought them to my office. I saw his Best New Cadet (BNC) Boards and asked if they knew what that meant. These boards are highly prized and point to a rising star in the Corps of Cadets. Once I explained the boards, they were beaming. What had almost ended before it got started had a wonderful end to the first chapter of his story at NMMI. His performance at NMMI brought pride to him, his family and the entire Navajo Nation. His Aunt stepped in at just the right moment, asked just the right questions and made the effort to drive him to Roswell and ensure that he took advantage of this opportunity.

At NMMI, we work very hard to create opportunities for students that cannot be achieved anywhere else. Each accredited institution you are considering will have unique things to offer and you are left to make a decision on which road to choose. However, sometimes students stop themselves before they are able to find out what is possible. This happens all the time when students and families see the initial price tag for education and shy away, not taking the time to go through the process that would allow us to process the file for admission. Once a student is admitted, they are automatically considered for scholarships. At NMMI we don’t only look at your GPA and test score, we are also considering your past behavior, your leadership and any special ability as we award scholarships. In each situation we can’t tell you what you might be eligible for if you don’t complete your application! So, whatever school you are considering move through their process and find out what is possible before you declare it to be impossible. Now is the time, apply online, send in the necessary documents and see what might be possible. My student who almost stopped himself is up for a big promotion in the Corps of Cadets in the fall. He is incredible, but he needed to take a step out of his comfort zone (and he needed a little push from his family) to find out just how incredible he really is!

As Dr. Seuss wrote:

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So…get on your way!

NMMI Named Most Beautiful Military School in the US

New Mexico Military Institute was recently named as the Most Beautiful Military School in the US by Thank you to all cadets, alumni, parents, families, friends, and all others, who took the time to vote.


Photo Credit: Kirsten Alton