Hargrave Military Academy: Refining the leaders of tomorrow

There’s a lot of pressure on young men and boys today. Through convoluted exams, mounting college debts, the stresses of the social media realm, and the complex matter of growing up in a world that constantly changes, teenagers now more than ever are feeling the pressure of life in the complex modern world.

It’s incredibly difficult to prepare young men for tomorrow when we don’t yet quite know exactly what it will look like. While some skills pale into irrelevance in our technology-driven future, there are some skills and traits that will always be valued in both our personal relationships and society at large. You can rest assured, for example, that character and leadership will never go out of style.

Young boys need guidance and understanding to become such men of character and virtue, but these essential life skills can often be neglected during those crucial high school years.

It’s easy for such traits to get lost in the transition from childhood to becoming a young adult, leaving many to make the wrong choices and endure the troubling long-term effects. Over the last decade, 30 percent of young men have dropped out of college during their freshman year, despite the fact that the challenges faced in the first year of college really haven’t changed.

To ensure young men are getting the character development and resilience needed to succeed in college and beyond, solid guidance at high school age is absolutely essential.

At Hargrave Military Academy, that’s exactly what you get.

This School educates boys from grade seven right through to postgraduate, putting character development and leadership skills at the heart of what they do.

Committed to the four stable pillars of education – Academics, Character Development, Athletics and Fitness, and Spiritual Growth – Hargrave is fostering graduates who boldly progress through adult life, confident in their expertise and equipped to make a difference.

“The changes that have been made in Corey are dramatic. He’s a different person, he’s respectful, prompt, cares about what’s going on, cares about his future and I can’t say those were character traits he had before coming to Hargrave,” says David Renaker, Father of Cadet Corey Renaker, Class of ‘16. “Hargrave has made a tremendous difference in his life and ours.”

With the promise of small class sizes, each student gains individual attention from a formidable global faculty, formed of instructors and former military personnel who serve as strong male role models in this single-gender learning environment.

The importance of character development is not only emphasized in specific program construction, but is reinforced throughout the diverse curriculum and interweaved across all subject regions.

Boys are challenged to think critically, work collaboratively and develop a sense of civic duty and social responsibility that lives within them long after they leave the halls of Hargrave.

Dedicated leadership programs from the General Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Ethics reinforce this message and provide the best opportunity to grow young men holistically as students, athletes, and leaders.

This process begins as early as the seventh grade and gradually evolves and strengthens throughout the students’ education. By exploring basic character and character development, boys develop an understanding of their own strengths while learning the traits of reliable, effective and socially-conscious leaders.

This unique leadership program then formally extends into high school and postgraduate programs with the 18-week Leadership 1 and Leadership 2 courses.

Putting these skills to the test, leadership qualities are explored and utilised across the curriculum, giving students the chance to practice every single day. In the classroom, the sports arena, and the community – learned leadership skills form part of their academic and personal development.

The graduated and enlightened approach nurtures strong-willed young men who venture into the world with a sense of confidence, effective communication expertise and a deep-seated desire to push for positive change.

Graduate Shaq Lawson, current NFL player with the Buffalo Bills, attributes much of his resolve and responsible attitude to his time at the Academy.

“If I hadn’t gone to Hargrave, I’d have had a much harder time adjusting to life at Clemson (College) in my freshman year,” Lawson explains. “Going to Hargrave changed the way I carry myself. It’s made me more accountable, more responsible, more of a man.”

Hargrave has been recognised for its effective and progressive methods in character development, standing as one of only two military academies in the country accredited as a National School of Character.

To couple firm character building with academic success, Hargrave also runs a ‘How to Study’ program that equips young graduates with the skills needed to succeed at college-level.

The course covers everything from organization through to time management and test-taking skills – basically everything needed in today’s competitive academic environment. They also instil in a sense of responsibility for students’ own studies and success, cultivating a positive attitude towards learning that is the ultimate ingredient to excelling both at school and far beyond.

The holistic approach to turning boys into well-rounded young men is most certainly working; Hargrave boasts a current college placement rate of an exceptional 99 percent, nurturing graduates who go on to achieve remarkable things in all manner of fields. Above all else, the whole Hargrave experience is one that breeds success.

“Because of Hargrave, his GPA has risen, he got a full four-year scholarship to Alabama, plus an engineering scholarship on top of that,” says Calyx Harris, Mother of 2017 graduate Cadet Hayden Bressoud.

“He found fraternity and camaraderie here at Hargrave, it’s just been a fantastic experience.”

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