Tag Archives: leadership

Life After NMMI

By Cadet Elyssa Chino

My plans after New Mexico Military School are to transfer to another military school. Before NMMI, I never thought I would develop any interest in the military. I came from a military family, my dad, uncles, and grandfather all served in the USMC. Growing up I decided that military life was not for me, and I would contribute to the world in another way. However, upon graduating from NMMI, I fell in love with the military lifestyle. I am still well aware it is not for everyone. Not many people agree with the structured, rigid, and routine life but the challenge of it had me hooked. I appreciated how much stronger and capable I became, both mentally and physically. Of course, I had my days I did not want to wake up at 0600 to conduct morning Physical Training or conduct rifle drill for an hour in the hot sun. Not everyday was glamorous and totally at my disposal, but as I stated before, the accomplished feeling well was worth it at the end of every day. My days where busy, long, productive, and fulfilling. I desired to continue this military school journey. I came back to NMMI for junior college, which I will be graduating from in a couple months. Now my sights are set on The Citadel the Military College of the South. Once I attain my bachelor’s in political science, I plan to commission into the US Marine Corp as a 2nd Lieutenant. My biggest aspiration in life is to become an attorney and represent mistreated families in destitute countries. To me, the military makes perfect sense as it would fully equip me with the tactical and soft military skills necessary to care for myself, especially in high risk countries. Not only will it help strengthen my independence, but it will expand my knowledge of the world beyond my hometown, financially support me through law school, provide me with networking opportunities and give me new leadership experiences. Fortunately, NMMI has already provided me with these benefits during the time I have been here. I appreciate NMMI for sparking my interest and opening the door to the biggest plans of my life.

 

Leaving the Nest

My family’s experience of me at NMMI

By: Cadet Madison McLean

Growing up my mom always told my sister and I we were her little birds, always in her nest and when we were ready, we would have to leave the nest eventually. When I decided I wanted to go to NMMI, I was 15 years old. And I knew I was going to have to leave the nest for the next four years of high school. My parents were excited for me, it was a chance to get a great education and an experience of a life time. And the one rule my dad had for me was once I start NMMI I must finish. I started my first day at a preparatory summer camp for math and then transitioned into RAT week. During that period of time I couldn’t have my cell phone for three weeks. Throughout those three weeks I wrote to my little sister and parents on a weekly basis and it was hard on all of us as a family. My parents mailed me a package of school supplies and items I was running low on, and my dad hid a bag of my favorite candy in the package. Even though I wasn’t at home they still found a way to put a smile on my face.

When I saw my parents for my 21-day ceremony they told me how proud they were of me and I could see they missed me greatly. The first time I could take a furlough home, I sat down with my dad and he told me how much he missed me and that it wasn’t easy for my mom and him to send me to NMMI. But they had to make that sacrifice of not seeing me every day for giving me the best education possible. Every time I went home for a holiday, we always spent time together to make up for not being together often throughout the school years. As years went by and my four years came to a close, I realized I had a stronger relationship with my family, and they were able to accept me leaving my mom’s nest. Attending NMMI was not just an experience for me, but for my parents and sister as well. They were my biggest fans at all my games, my supporters through my academics, and with me every step of the way. If anything, they attended NMMI with me for those four years and we celebrated every moment together.

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.