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My freshman to senior years at CMA

Posted: January 15, 2018 4:05 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Matthew Rush

High school is tough; boarding school is tough; but a military school is even tougher, especially if you’re going in as a freshman and you’ve never even been in public high school where things are quite different. Honestly, my decision to go to a military school didn’t come about overnight, and I -- not my parents -- made this choice. It was the result of my brother attending Camden Military Academy the year before I arrived.     

After talking to him about the school many times, I realized that I needed to have more discipline in my own life. I decided that after my eighth grade year that I would attend Camden Military Academy. Imagine telling your parents that you want to go to military school -- despite your brother’s struggling there. My parents looked at me like I had lost my mind. But after the first year or two, they began to love this school just as I do now. 

But, I’ll admit that my first year at Camden Military Academy was pretty tough, as is everyone’s freshman year in high school. I was trying to adjust to the school’s military environment and curriculum in addition to dealing with regular teenage angst, daily life and family troubles that had kept occurring.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t have traded my first year at Camden Military Academy for anything, because I have learned from others and have taught myself so many useful life lessons from experiences I would not have had at public school. I had begun hanging out with the wrong crowd before I came to Camden Military Academy. I had no motivation to do anything productive, I was being pressured to do drugs by people close to me and wasn’t doing my schoolwork, nor was I listening to my teachers and elders. My brothers, with whom I forged lifelong bonds during my first year, dissuaded me from that path and gave me a kind of guiding hand towards the path that would eventually get me to where I am right now.

During my second and third years at Camden Military Academy I hit a growth spurt, maturity-wise. During my sophomore year, I became a squad leader in charge of about eight or so guys and our charge was to clean the bathroom every day. As the year went on, my roommate of two years had gotten a job that would eventually be passed on to me. In my junior year, I began sleeping in until 8:30  in the morning (although I wasn’t necessarily supposed to do that), I skipped meals to do homework (or just to play a video game on my laptop) but then I would have many weeks when I would work 10 and a half hours for my job, doing school, homework/college work and working out.        That year was probably my most important year, goal-wise, because I had gotten good grades and I had done my job.

Now I’m in my fourth and final year here at Camden Military Academy, and I can already tell that it’s going to be a fantastic year. From the past summer and being at Palmetto Boys State and South Carolina Business Week, I have met so many great people and I’ve learned so many good skills and lessons that I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life. I can never thank Camden Military Academy Dean of Students John Heflin and my teachers and superiors for guiding me toward achieving my ultimate dream by helping me to get accepted into The Citadel and for laying the foundations for my future career in the military.


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