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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.

How I Manage My Time at NMMI

By Cadet Marco Varela

It all starts with a mentality. There is little time to stand around and decide what to do next, there is always something to do and it pays to know what it is. NMMI sets you up for success by issuing a planner to write down everything your homework and tasks. However, there are alternatives. I personally prefer Google Calendar because it syncs across any device that I log onto, it sends me reminders, and it gives me a visual representation from which I can create a plan.
When I start the day, I maintain a routine of showering and grooming, cleaning my room, and reviewing my plan for the day. This includes checking my calendar, my email, and any post-it notes on my desk. It is crucial to begin with a direction in mind of how I want to run the day. By knowing due dates and the tasks of the day I know what to focus my valuable free time on. It is important to address that even with a plan and efficiently utilizing free time, some tasks may require even more time to accomplish. For example, my senior year of high school at NMMI I had a portion of my capstone paper, which determines of you graduate, due in the morning. It was 2200 and all I had was my works cited. I decided to go to bed and wake up at 0230 considering that I work better in the “morning.” Fortunately, I did well on that paper and graduated as Salutatorian, but my point is that even with an organized method there is still always room for improvement. Furthermore, sacrifices are necessary to succeed.
NMMI will test your abilities in multiple occasions. It will quite a determined attitude to accomplish tasks successfully. Being organized in the planning of my time helps me be successful and I believe it is worth trying for any cadet.

Why I Came to NMMI–And Why I've Stayed

By Cadet Diego Salido
One of the most repetitive questions I have been asked as a cadet is “Why are you at NMMI?”
Most people assume that I am a troublemaker and my parents sent me here to fix me, which is something that you will not find very often here at the Institute. Most of the people come here because of their own choice and because they are looking for a challenge. In my case, I came here following my brother’s example and his advice. He told me that it was the best choice I could make and that I would not regret it. I had to think about it for more than a year, and finally I decided that I wanted to accept the challenge. After my first year, the question became “Why did you stay” and the answer is really simple: I stayed because of the people–the family I found here, and the opportunity to be someone better. I do not regret a single thing since I got here and I have enjoyed my ride. I still have a year left until I graduate and I know that I will miss everything and everyone when I leave.
Salido

How NMMI Changed My Life

By: Cadet Nick Valentine
When I first stepped on post, I knew I was entering one of the most developmental chapters of my life yet. I was 16 years old, entering my junior year of high school, and to be honest I did not have a strong grasp of what I was doing at New Mexico Military Institute. The only real reason why I came was to better prepare myself for an appointment to one of the Service Academies, but I did not know how I was going to do that once I stepped into the cadet uniform.
There was a specific point in my time at the Institute when I realized my true purpose at NMMI, but it was long after my first steps as a Recruit at Training. It was when I looked in the mirror a few minutes before my high school graduation, dressed in my formal Summer A uniform as a Cadet 1st Sergeant, one of the highest ranks a high schooler can achieve at the Institute. I was different, but in a positive way. I stood taller, I looked sharper, and I confidence in my path in life. I was a NMMI Cadet, and that something I have the honor of carrying with me for the rest of my life. The cool thing about that is, there is no one that will ever be able to take that away from me. I had found myself at the Institute, through the countless push-ups, vigorous academics, and most importantly the relationships I built at NMMI. I had tapped into wo I truly am.
Now, as a returning cadet at New Mexico Military Institute, I have carried that confidence I assumed during my high school years into my college career. I brought the momentum of finishing high school strong with me, and I have not let anything get in my way of finding more about who I am. That is what NMMI does for you, it opens a gateway into finding your true self. However, the choice is yours… Will you embark on the journey of an NMMI Cadet?
 

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 militaryschooler.com. Thank you to all cadets, alumni, parents, families, friends, and all others, who took the time to vote.
 
Photo Credit: Kirsten Alton

True Brothers at NMMI

By Cadet Diego Salido
NMMI Salido BrothersThe first year at NMMI is different for everyone. It is hard because is like nothing we have ever done. It is fun because it is when we find friends in our weakest moments. It is a lot of things, but for me, it was special.
The main reason of why my “RAT” year was special is because I never felt away from home; this was because I literally had family here with me. My older brother was a Sergeant Major, in charge of the discipline of over 200 people– while I was a recruit, the lowest rank in the corps and someone who only had to worry about myself.
My brother taught me everything I needed to know to succeed in this place. He even tried to teach me a lot of things before I came but I just wouldn’t listen to him, and I still regret it. He got me ready for most of the obstacles that I could face here at NMMI. He warned me about RAT week and how challenging it was going to be–omitting some of the details and giving me some surprises. When he refused to help me with something it was only to make me stronger and more independent, because he was trying to guide me rather than carrying me through the whole process of learning at the Institute.
His presence also improved me because he just kept pushing me (or made me push) to perfection. He would not stand catching me doing the wrong thing or wearing my uniform incorrectly. He expected me to set the example for my friends and to have more discipline than the others. I worked hard to prove that I could be the person he expected me to be. The best thing is that our relationship as brothers got stronger. Even if we didn’t talk a lot because of the rules and because of our different schedules, we knew we had each other for whatever we needed.
This year, as a yearling and a Platoon Sergeant, I try to follow his example and I still carry with me all his advice. I work hard every day to make him proud even when he is studying back home.

What it meant to be a RAT (Recruit At Training)

By: Juan Garcia Gutierrez
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One of the main reasons why I came to NMMI was that I wanted to become independent. At the age of fifteen, I thought I could live and take care of myself. Your reason for coming to New Mexico Military Institute does not really matter. What really matters is your motivation to strive for the best and achieve the goals you set for yourself because at the end, you are your own biggest challenge at the Institute.
During your RAT period at NMMI, the worse thing to do is to take something for granted. There are, without a doubt, struggles along the way that will ultimately make you become stronger. One of the main struggles about being a RAT is being away from home. Even if you live in town! Having to learn all of the customs and traditions of the Institute is also a struggle. The most important thing to do that people struggle the most on is most definitely following the rules. The first time you get your Blue Book, which is the document with all standards and rules to follow, you will be very impressed about all the little things that you are not allowed to do that most likely did at home without even thinking. It might seem hard to memorize all the content, but doing it will definitely make your stay at NMMI a lot better!
Along with the struggles at NMMI comes military instruction. This instruction starts from verbal warnings all the way to marching in a rectangle. Everybody makes mistakes along the way because those are part of the learning process. Every single RAT that comes in is like a baby that is learning how to walk and speak. Breaking rules the first twenty-one days is normal and usual. Your cadre, the corps leaders in charge of you, are the ones in charge of coaching and mentoring the RATs to the point where they become “New Cadets” and are able to make the right decisions at the right time for the right purpose. The struggles you overcome help you become a stronger cadet, more organized and with better time management. A piece of advice I have for new incoming RATs is to be respectful at all times, know your place in the chain of command (THE VERY BOTTOM!), and understand that although the person telling you what to do might be younger in age, he/she is wiser in knowledge of the school.
The twenty-one day period changed me in a huge way. By following the rules and keeping my mouth shut when I needed to, I did not even notice that I became a more organized and sharp individual. The twenty-one day period is critical because you absorb information almost the entire day. Classes do not start until two weeks inside training. It is of high importance that RATs pay attention to detail and try learning everything they can during that period because it will help them survive at NMMI. I did and I’m prouder for it!