by Jonathan Pederson ’15
Randolph-Macon Academy affirms it is a Christian-based, military college preparatory, private high school. Perhaps you are asking yourself, “What does this even mean?” Let us first debunk a few misperceptions. Some believe R-MA is only for those who consider a career in the United States military. Whereas R-MA does provide a preparatory track designed for those cadets who have that desire, R-MA prepares students for any career choice they wish. R-MA focuses on ensuring each cadet has the opportunity to achieve success.
Some believe R-MA is only a tool for entering college. We do pride ourselves on the recurring statistic, which states that we maintain a 100% four-year college acceptance rate. We do prepare our students for the college application process. When I first applied for R-MA, I was required to write an essay similar to the ones colleges require. We take PSATs, SATs, and ACTs much earlier than average schools, often times a year to two years in advance. Our English classes educate us on an advanced level, ensuring students write well for both SATs and college essays. Our math courses allow students to excel; on some occasions, we even see freshmen taking AP courses.
However, R-MA goes beyond getting students into college. R-MA provides cadets with the tools to succeed in college. From past teachers to current teachers, R-MA prides itself on the quality of teachers it hires. Past alumni have remarked teachers like Mr. Craig Porter prepared them for the studious writing in college. Recent alumni regard Mr. Brandon Sloan for accomplishing the same objective. A former college professor, Dr. Larry Cousineau, teaches his class in the same style he taught his college students. Mr. Dave Gillis uses his curriculum to correlate with other classes. Whether he is using a project from his Engineering Fundamentals class for Anatomy, programs written in his java class to help explain math concepts, or using knowledge from physics to help explain concepts taught in Aerospace, Mr. Gillis ensures the classes he teaches relates not only to other classes, but also to the real world. His student teams have even made the finals at the Conrad Foundation’s international competition, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
R-MA also gives the students an education in the intangible: character. It is taught through the Air Force JROTC program which focuses on the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do; through mentoring sessions discussing ethics; through a residential life program that focuses on honor; and through weekly chapel services teaching Christian values. Through all these and more, R-MA sets itself apart as a military college-prep school that teaches far more than what is in a text book.