Alumni, family, and friends filled the campus this past weekend as Massanutten Military Academy enjoyed the largest turnout for Homecoming weekend in years to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the school!
The festivities began on Friday with a students vs. faculty kickball game. The students rotated each inning so that as many cadets could participate as possible. To nobody’s surprise, the students were victorious, but everyone had a great time.
After the kickball game, there was an alumni welcome and registration that led into tours of the campus. Parent-teacher conferences were held, which allowed each faculty member to meet with any parents who were in attendance.
The highlight of Day 1 for Homecoming was the PG basketball scrimmage which allowed students, parents, faculty, and friends to have their first glimpse at the 2019-20 team in action. Coach Curtis Peery split his team into two squads: the purple-jerseyed squad edged the white jerseys 82-78. Mali’s Cadet Touba Traore (Class of 2020) thrilled the audience with many thunderous dunks, while Cadet Markus Ilver (Class of 2021), who is from Estonia, proved his perimeter expertise with several three-pointers and guard Cadet A.J. Davis (Class of 2021) sliced his way through traffic throughout the match.
At halftime, MMA honored the 1986 Virginia Independent Conference champions at centercourt. An MMA gift bag and a game helmet were given to each of the former teammates who were present: Shane Case, Thomas McAdoo, Brian Moreland, and Joseph Trotter. Also honored at halftime was last year’s state champion rifle team. The four honorees included two current students – Cadet Major Grochalski and Cadet First Sergeant Hilleary – and two graduates from the Class of 2019: Cadet Fitzgerald and former Battalion Commander Herring, who could not attend but was represented by her parents.
The day wound down with a Cadet and Parents Dinner Date for the student and a reception at American Legion Post 199 for the alumni.
Saturday’s events were just as action-packed with a Parent Teacher Organization meeting starting the day at Caskey Auditorium.
Immediately after the PTO meeting, the cadets formed for parade on Company Street that led onto the football field. Board of Trustee member Oak McCullough (Class of 2007) had the honor of reading the Last Roll Call, which recognized the passing of 24 MMA alumni.
At brunch, Chairman of the Board of Trustees William Magruder (Class of 1967) announced that Kent Kretzler (Class of 1969) has donated the funds needed to build a fire pit that will be located just outside center field of the baseball field. The fire pit is expected to be built and ready for use in the 2020-21 academic school year. Mr, Magruder also recognized Board of Trustee member Melody Hutsell (Class of 1979) for the vast amount of work she does for MMA year round. The guest speaker was Tanya Mazarowski, who gave a moving talk about how proud she is of seeing her son, Sgt. Hilleary (Class of 2021), grow into a young adult at MMA.
In the afternoon, the football stands were filled with fans! First-year Coach Rob Campbell led his 40-player roster against St. Michael the Archangel. Cadets Sean Maertzig, Sam Sawyer, and Joshua Daiker had exceptional games and provided high expectations for a rebuilding program that will continue to improve.
At halftime, current and former cadets competed in a knock-out drill that was run by Cadet Major Grochalski. Cadet Nagel was the cadet winner and alumnus Jovan Holmes (Class of 2016) was the alumni winner.
After an Alumni Outreach Forum in the late afternoon, the day was capped with the premier event of the entire weekend: the 2019 Homecoming Dinner & Dance that was held in Cook & Kitchen Dining Hall. This year’s theme was a 1950’s Sock Hop. Cadet Pezzino was named Homecoming King and Cadet Suter was the Homecoming Queen. Turnout was extraordinary for the dance, which had a packed floor of cadets dancing and enjoying themselves.
While the students were dancing away the night, alumni gathered at the Woodstock Brewhouse. Dozens of alumni, faculty, staff members, and their friends packed the back room at the restaurant.
The weekend came to a close on Sunday after a morning service in the chapel followed by a breakfast bar in the Hayes Activity Center.