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How well do you know CMA?

Posted: October 9, 2017 5:22 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Do you know about Camden Military Academy? It’s a military academy, obviously, but what else do you know about it?

This is my third year as a cadet at Camden Military Academy and, every year that passes, I view the school differently. I’ve worked my way up through the chain of command throughout my years and now, for my senior year, I’ve achieved the position of battalion commander. As battalion commander, I have to ensure that the entire corps of cadets, consisting of 300 students, is squared away.

However, the rank I have achieved isn’t what makes me wonder if people know of my school. In fact, it is the Kershaw County Junior Leadership program that has prompted me to ask the question. I’ve made many friends throughout Kershaw County, thanks to the program. After getting to know them, it seemed like they didn’t know much about my school, so I asked them this question: “Our school is open to visitors, but how come it seems like so many people in Camden don’t know what goes on here?” They responded with explaining how there is no reason for them to visit. Camden Military Academy is “The Official Military Academy of South Carolina,” yet many locals seem to know so little about our school.

Camden Military Academy helps the city of Camden’s revenue. For example, 1,300 hundred people come to our graduation, with parents staying in local hotels and eating out at local restaurants with the cadets. Every weekend, the cadets themselves keep local restaurants busy with a high demand for their favorite foods they provide.

But, back to original question: Do you know Camden Military Academy?

Most people know the local high schools, but when it comes to Camden Military Academy, people just know it’s a military school. When I ask people what comes to mind when they think about a military school they think that’s where the “bad kids” are sent. I don’t know where this reputation has come from, but it is wrong. Camden Military Academy is a college preparatory school, and any misconduct that might occur here would occur at any other school.

I think that my school should be viewed by people just as The Citadel is viewed. The Citadel is known to be a great military college that prepares cadets for the workforce and for life. I feel that the people in this city should get to know my school by seeing it themselves, say, during one of our many parades. There is a parade held once a month on campus that conveys a sense of our school’s history and culture, and it is also a chance for the cadets to show what they have learned. Moreover, the more people who show up at such events here, the more our cadets can feel proud for what they’ve accomplished.

(Yohann Offredo is the cadet battalion commander of Camden Military Academy and one of several high school columnists for the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)

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