MMA cadets are used to hearing good advice. They receive it every day from the staff of the Academy, from their teachers, coaches, drill instructors, and even from fellow cadets. But it’s unlikely they have ever heard words as moving or memorable as those they received from Charles Lynn Lowder, guest speaker at the Academy’s annual Leadership Forum, 11 March.
Lowder, a former Marine, and currently executive vice president and general counsel of Mail Boxes Etc., gave a powerful address to the Corps of Cadets about leadership and the virtues of an education at the Marine Military Academy.
“It was outstanding because the message he delivered was so sincere,” assistant commandant LtCol Gary Andresen said. “He gave the cadets a lot of good advice about how to cope with life’s ups and downs, and how to step up front and be a leader. The best thing about it was it truly came from the heart. He genuinely captivated and held the cadets’ attention. After the speech, cadets lined up to shake his hand. I’ve never seen that before.”
The Leadership Forum is a day the Academy sets aside each year to specifically examine all facets of leadership. Following the speech by Lowder, selected cadets met for panel discussions on one of four topics: leadership traits, leadership styles, leadership principals and leadership standards. Each panel was hosted by a military staff member, a trustee, and a teacher.
Lowder was in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1983, during which time he rose from the rank of private to major. In 1976 he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, and in 1980 he graduated from the DePaul University College of Law.
Sean DuBose, a third-year cadet at the Marine Military Academy, has been chosen to learn about America’s incentive system during an all-expense paid trip to the annual West Texas Leadership Seminar this summer.
More than 270 outstanding sophomores from throughout Central and South Texas will attend the seminar, each representing a different school. The program, which is affiliated with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation, is sponsored by Optimist Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs and other business establishments.
Students will hear from today’s leaders in business, government and education, allowing them to have a better understanding and appreciation of the American economic system and democratic process. In addition, personal improvement skills and motivational techniques will be discussed.
The foundation was established 42 years ago by movie and stage actor Hugh O’Brian in the belief that America’s great resource is its youth. This is the 17th West Texas Leadership Seminar, one of five such conferences in Texas. There is at least one held in each other state, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The purpose is to seek out, recognize and reward leadership potential in high school students.
DuBose, 16, was chosen by a panel of Academy teachers. He is the son of Ms. Judy DuBose of Corpus Christi.
IN FEBRUARY, Mrs. Robin Farris with the Valley Private School Association helped organize a skating and pizza party for MMA eighth graders at the San Benito Skate Center. All 36 eighth graders, except for one in the sick bay, attended and had a great time.
At the 22nd Annual HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) Conference in Dallas in February, cadet volunteers weren’t the only ones from MMA to be honored.
Earline Folsom, a board member and longtime supporter of the Academy, was presented with the Betty Scharff Memorial Award for her many years of service to the program.
Folsom gives freely of her time as both a HOSTS mentor and as a driver for cadets. As part of the nationwide program, more than 50 cadets donate an hour of their time a week to tutor children at four Harlingen public schools. Folsom not only helps transport the cadets, she also stays to tutor, as well.
At the annual conference, Folsom received a plaque from Bill Gibbons, HOSTS founder and chairman of the board, and from Chad Woolery, CEO of the HOSTS Corporation.
The conference program had the following tribute:
Sixteen Marine Military Academy cadets mentor 16 lucky students every week and all 32 of them are being helped to reach their potential. Four mornings a week, Earline Folsom picks up four MMA cadets in her own car and transports them to Treasure Hills Elementary so they can help HOSTS students. Earline is committed to motivating and enriching the lives and opportunities of the HOSTS children and the MMA cadets. For 17 years, she has personally mentored HOSTS students two or more hours a week. Earline is also a trustee of the MMA and devotes many hours to the well-being of the cadets. She has provided finances and made arrangements for several cadets to attend the HOSTS Annual Conference and receive recognition for their efforts.
The Betty Scharff Memorial Award is the highest individual honor given by the HOSTS Corporation to those that go the extra mile to help children succeed.
One of the largest crowds to ever enjoy a Battle Color Ceremony at the Marine Military Academy was treated to an evening of stirring music and precision drill exhibition at Bowman Stadium, 1 March.
The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, Silent Drill Platoon and Color Guard performed their world-famous Battle Color Ceremony before an audience of about 3,000 that included cadets, local residents, area JROTC units and other guests.
The Battle Color Ceremony is performed hundreds of times annually throughout the country, primarily at evening parades at Headquarters Marine Corps and at the Arlington National Cemetery. The MMA performance is the only one scheduled in the state of Texas this year.
The program began with the Drum and Bugle Corps performing both popular and patriotic music using their trumpets, fluegelhorns, percussion and other instruments. Their performance concluded with the ever popular Stars and Stripes Forever.
The 24 members of the silent drill platoon then captivated the crowd with their precision drill with M-1 rifles with fixed bayonets. The finale of the evening was the pass in review, with MMA President MajGen Wayne Rollings, USMC (Ret), serving as reviewing officer.
One of the few sports played year-round at the Academy is tennis, which began its season in August, and concludes with the TAPPS state tournament at the end of April.
All of those months of practice are starting to pay off for the Leathernecks, who have brought home trophies in their last two outings.
At the McAllen Varsity Tournament 3, 4 March, junior Matt Christian dropped his first match, then defeated five opponents in a row to take the consolation division. Senior Jon Mackie reached the semifinals of the same event.
The following weekend, at the Spring Fling Tournament in Corpus Christi, the doubles team of Mackie and junior Grant Pierce won four matches to reach the finals of Boys B Doubles, where they lost a close three-setter and took second place.
Those three players, along with Carlos Escudero, Jose Perez, Gabe Gomez and Carlos Barron will be the Leatherneck entries in the TAPPS district tournament at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio, 10-11 April. The finalists at district qualify for the state tournament in Waco, 28, 29 April.
Coach Robert Beckley said the team’s best bet for a state qualifier could be Christian, a third-year cadet who ran track the past two years, before joining the tennis team this year.
“Matt is a great athlete, but he’s just starting to learn the game of tennis and that takes time,” Beckley said. “He’ll probably be a fine player someday, but I don’t know if this will be the year. I’m not counting him out, though. No one on the team has improved more this season.
“Mackie and Pierce could also do well in doubles,” Beckley added. “Mackie is a three-year letterman and the team captain. Having him out there is like having an assistant coach on the court. His experience and maturity should help Pierce, who’s a first-year cadet.”
The MMA track team has competed in several events this spring, including it’s own Jim Morton Leatherneck Relays, 3,4 March.
Sophomore Adrian Lash was the top cadet in that meet, with a second place finish in the discus. Junior Drew Hardberger was third in the 300 intermediate hurdles and the team of Chris Koci, Saheed Kadri, Rees Williams and Tyronn Mitchell placed third in the 400 relay.
“We’re doing pretty well this year considering how inexperienced we are,” Coach Mike Morton said. “Adrian, a sophomore, has shown considerable promise in the discus. Hardberger has been a pleasant surprise in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. This is his first year in track. He’d never even seen a hurdle before. Now he’s making the finals in 5A meets.
“Tyler Harrison has performed well in distance events, and also gives the other runners a lot of encouragement. Andrew Gobert, our team captain, has improved in the hurdles.”
The Leathernecks will be hosts of the TAPPS District Meet, 14 April.
One month into its season, the MMA baseball team has a record of 4-2, including 3-1 in district play. The district wins have come against Laredo St. Augustine and Brownsville St. Joseph, who the Leathernecks beat twice. MMA also placed third in the Premont Tournament.
“Our starting pitchers, David Shoemaker and Adam Van Horne, have been outstanding, as has been Jared Grisham in relief,” assistant coach Bill Beckman said. “Our hitting could be a little better. A lot of the guys like to swing for grand slams, and end up making easy outs. We need to hit more for percentage.”
The Leathernecks have 10 games remaining on their schedule before the TAPPS state baseball tournament in Belton, 11-13 April.
MMA judoka, as judo players are known, have been busy this past month, hosting their own tournament, as well as competing in both state and national championships.
On 4 March, 19 players from throughout Texas entered the Leatherneck Open, which was the second such event held at the Academy.
The top MMA competitor was sophomore Sean DuBose, who placed 1st in the 130-145lb. category. Teammates Abe Kamzan and Robert Allen were third and fourth respectively in the same weight class. Cadet Ryan Lindsey placed second in the 159-173 lb. class.
A week later, MMA was one of 11 schools to compete in the Texas State High School Judo Championships, held in Odessa, Texas, 11 March.
Once again DuBose placed first, this time in the 60 kg. bracket. Kamzan, Allen and Christopher Eplee were second, third and fourth respectively in the 66 kg. weight class, and Lindsey was fourth at 81kg.
The following weekend, the MMA judo team sent DuBose, to the National High School Championships, held at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Here, competing against the best in the country from over 90 high schools, he placed sixth.
“Sean has a lot of long range goals at the national, international, and Olympic level,” Coach Mike Travis said. “If he maintains his desire and commitment to training, I believe he can be successful.”
A young MMA golf team continues to turn in solid performances this spring. On 4 March in Mercedes, sophomore Guillermo Montemayor shot a 76 to take the low medalist honors, and led MMA to a second place team trophy. In the same tournament, MMA’s David Mackie shot an 81, John Bradley had a 91, and Cadets Dustin Call and David Square both had 94s.
“With such a young group, our future certainly looks bright,” Coach Chris Evans said. “Two of our players, Square and Montgomery, are just eighth graders. Hopefully, we’ll have them for four more years.
“All of the guys have improved a lot this spring,” Evans added, “especially with their short games. We’ve been able to practice three days a week at Harlingen Country Club, and they have excellent practice facilities. We’ve really been working on the short game which is where you can save or lose a lot of strokes.”
The TAPPS District Golf Tournament will be held at South Padre Island Golf Course, 10 April.
Maj Stephen Sullivan, USMC - 3001 Creel Ct., Woodbridge, Va. 22192, (703) 491-0730, email-stephen.sullivan@DTRA.MIL. Stephen, a three-year cadet, has been in Europe on NATO business, and will be home only a few weeks before returning to Belgium in mid-April. Still, he plans to attend his 20-year reunion at the Academy provided all flights can be worked out. He has been in contact with several former classmates he hopes to see there including Brian Latta and Dale Knutson. Stephen writes that he is absolutely indebted to MMA, and that it had everything to do with his success in life.
Jared Proffitt - 5505 Old Granbury Rd., Granbury, Tx. 76049, (817) 326-4556. Jared, a three-year cadet, recently called about his cousin enrolling at MMA.
Michael Arroyo - 11507-23 Fury Ln., El Cajon, Ca. 92019, email@example.com. Michael, who is attending San Diego State University, said the Leader had listed his email address incorrectly. He wanted the correct address published so his alumni friends can contact him. Glad to help, Michael.
MMA alumni are connecting once again . . . through cyberspace! Several months ago on the MMA web site (www.mma-tx.org), the alumni web page began offering a free service just for alumni called the Bulletin Board.
The purpose is mainly to allow alumni the opportunity to post messages to each other. It has been a great success for many reasons. Long lost buddies are being located, alumni are remembering important and often funny moments from their past, and plans for getting together again are well underway.
There are two options on the Bulletin Board. The “alumni muster” is simply a forum for catching up on old times and bringing other alumni up to date on what is happening in your life. The “alumni reunion” has been great for coordinating plans for all the alumni preparing to attend the 200 MMA alumni reunion, 14-16 April.
All you need to get in on the fun is a password, and only MMA alumni can get one. If you have one already and haven’t posted a message yet, GET ON LINE! If you haven’t got one yet, it’s easy to do, and FREE! Just go to the MMA web site, click on Alumni, fill out the information request form, and be sure to click YES at the bottom of the form when it asks about the Bulletin Board. We will take care of the rest.
It’s well worth the few minutes it takes to fill out the form just to read some of the great things being posted . . . even pictures!
Alumni, in case you still haven’t made plans to attend, we hope you will be our special guest at the 2000 Alumni Reunion, 14-16 April.
Rooms are available, but going fast, at the Courtyard by Marriott, 412-7800, Holiday Inn Express, 428-9292, and the La Quinta Inn, 428-6888.
Should you decide to come, the first thing to do is call the MMA Alumni Affairs Department as soon as possible so we can begin making plans for you. You can call (956) 423-6006, ext. 236.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Each year the Marine Military Academy receives dozens of applications from boys who want to attend the MMA Summer Camp, but simply cannot afford the fees, and each year MSgt John McLaughlin tries to find a way to help.
“I’ve talked to a lot of really good kids who want to experience what we offer, but financially they’re strapped and their parents have no where to turn,” McLaughlin said. “Each year I manage to help a few of these kids, but I’d like to help a lot more.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can write McLaughlin at (956) 423-6006, ext. 270.
Mrs. Tiny Maye M. Butler
Christopher Lee Heard - MMA Class of ‘99
Mr. Warren Perkins - 9th Regt, 3rdMarDiv,1942-1945
Col D.M. Ridderhof, USMC (Ret)
LtGen Donn J. Robertson, USMC (Ret)
PFC Brian Thornton - KIA Korea