School kicks off on Aug. 21
On Saturday, Aug. 17, more than 100 young men from across the country and around the world arrived at MMA to start a new school year. The first day of school at MMA begins on Wednesday, Aug. 21, but new students had to arrive Aug. 17 while returning ones had to arrive the following day. MMA expects to have a total headcount of 250 on the first day of school. For new and returning pupils alike, MMA will be both their school and home for the next nine months.
Of the new enrollees, at least half of them will be classified as “plebes” and begin Introductory Training as soon as they check in. Except for those who graduated from MMA Summer Camp, all new students must go through four weeks of training before becoming an official member of the MMA Corps of Cadets.
Once plebes register and bid their parents goodbye, they are escorted by a high-ranking cadet through “in-processing.” One of the first stops they make is to the barber shop, where they receive a head shaving. Then they collect their uniforms and other gear and head to their barrack. The plebes are given some time to settle into their rooms, but they are taught almost immediately how to make their bed or “rack.” This is just the beginning of their four-week training.
In addition to adjusting to a new school and a life away from home, a plebe must quickly learn a new regimen, cadet regulations, customs and courtesies, uniforms and proper dress, drill, inspections, Marine Corps history and much more. On the weekends, he is required to participate in numerous outdoor challenges, such as ziplining, rappelling, rope bridging and circuit training.
Whether a young man is a plebe or full-fledged cadet, the routine at MMA is significantly more demanding than an average day school.
On a typical day, MMA students begin physical training at 6:10 a.m. and eat breakfast at 6:40 a.m. From 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., they clean themselves, pick up their rooms and prepare for school. They attend the flag raising or “morning colors” at 8:35 a.m. before attending their first class at 8:50 a.m. They follow a 16-hour schedule that incorporates classes, sports or activities, and study time, keeping them well occupied until they go to bed at 10 p.m.
The structure and disipline at MMA usually has a very positive effect on their grades.