Wentworth Military Academy & Junior College
Wentworth Military Academy & Junior College - Comments and Student Experiences|
My days at ?WeWo? come from the second height of its capabilities, in the 1960?s with 650 students in the Cadet Corps. Basically all the things which were expressed in my visitation of the institution and the recruitment phase were total fabrications and half-truths. The Commandant stressed ?WeWo?s? high academic scholarship and quality instructors. Actually the staff was less qualified than my old public high school, and graded easier, so GPAs came up. The enrichment programs had some good potential, but there was really little chance to take any, even if they were actually offered. Much of the spare time was spent with busy work, i.e. cleaning and polishing. Enforced study halls made the very numerous laggards come up to C / B- averages, which in turn, really made frustrated parents express great satisfaction and happiness. ?WeWo?s? main customer market seemed to be for parents at the end-of-their-rope with ash-pile bound children, and they had the extra price of a new Buick to spend on tuition each year. Addressing the needs of these parents really seemed to be the main purpose of the institution, and the number of students who were not at the academy for this remedial purpose seemed to be in the minority. There was a fairly robust military education system in place, and many students did go on to commissions in the US military, including myself. ?WeWo? also advertised that they were sending numerous graduates on to Harvard, Yale, and similar quality schools, but I never seemed to be able to find them. Most graduates who went on to a 4 year college attended second and third tier local / regional universities. Some others did go on to the University of MO, KS, OK, etc., but these were from the high end of the academic class. Note that about a half dozen students, who did need one year of remedial work before attending the US Air Force Academy were allowed to attend ?WeWo? (and about ten other preps) through an outside funded and administrated program, which to read about it, one would think it belonged solely to ?WeWo?. West Point had a similar program, but ?WeWo? was never able to tap into it, but several other military preps were. That should tell you something. The school did advertise that 94% of its graduates did go on to higher education, but this included learning how to make license plates for the state, and military boot camp. The big problem of attending ?WeWo? was the high percentage of students who really did no give a damn, and some required such things as mandatory monthly drug and pregnancy tests. It was really miserable paying to attend a school and living with "peers" who had these kinds of needs and attitudes.
To be fair to the other writers, ?WeWo? was the state military school for the State of Missouri, with a bit of state funding assistance too, which did commissioned graduates into the state militia and National Guard, but in the late 1890?s to early 1920?s. This program fell to the wayside with the establishment of ROTC, and the state support was discontinued. In the 1910?s and 1920?s the school's honor graduate did receive the chance for an appointment to WestPoint. The school did have some connectivity with admissions into superior up-state Illinois private universities in the 1920?s, but this lapsed, never to return in the 1930?s economic depression. Where could you leverage your degree from ?WeWo? ? Basically nowhere significant, as it did not carry a lot of water.
The big negative of Wentworth Military Academy and College was going to live and study with so many jerks and ass-holes. Many of which went on to an early fate with booze, desease, and drugs. The big positive of Wentworth was learning how, for the rest of your life, to deal with jerks and assholes.
The President of UVA said recently, "There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference". If that is so, and I believe it is, then Wentworth Military Academy and College is the most dishonorable boarding school, military or civilian, in the United States of America if not the entire world. A favoritism-before-merit MO, and a laughable indifference to enforcing the tenets of the hallowed Honor Code are just two examples. Any sense of unity and discipline there might have been in the 132nd Corps of Cadets (2011-2012) was gone by 2012-2013. Gone. At Wentworth, I saw good people (staff and cadets) go unappreciated while the suck-ups and sleazebags got ahead.
People notice that sort of thing, and the result? Brain drain. Less than half of the cadets (high school and college) who arrived new under the magnificent cadet leaders of 2011-2012 returned for 2012-2013. When I returned, my friends were gone and the idiots were back and had been put in charge. That's the way it goes at WeWo. It sucks, and then it blows. Tradition is never honored, and the timeless cadet Honor Code is stuck up on walls but nobody pays any attention. Why should they? Lying, cheating and stealing is the example the school usually chooses to set, and the cadets and staff who go against that are always the exception to the rule.
So now that I'm out in the field, how has my college helped/hurt me?
It hasn't. That's all I have to say. The fact that it says "military" on my resume has helped with a job once or twice, but given that people think of VMI and West Point when they see "military college", it has actually given some people I've gone to work for unrealistic expectations, thinking I went to a REAL military college.
I didn't, and I thank God that nobody on the East Coast knows that when I go apply for a job. I anybody east of Kentucky knew anything about Wentworth at all, I'd have to leave it off my resume or I'd never get a job. There is no real alumni association, just old men who went to the school in the 1950's. Modern-day graduates, in my experience, want nothing to do with Wentworth after they leave. The older alumni, say 1980's and back, want nothing to do with the newer graduates. They look down on us, and somehow blame us for the state of the school today, which they nonetheless do absolutely nothing about. I have a few former WeWo buddies and staff I keep in touch with, but that's it. Wentworth is not West Point, a school with a vibrant alumni community that you feel honored to join. It is a place where not even the alumni like each other, and where most cadets are just glad to leave. Since leaving Wentworth I have relied on the school and my days there hardly at all. I have an Associate's Degree and that's it.
What do I think I should have known/done?
In short, I should have tried harder back in high school, gotten into West Point or VMI. For a junior military college, I should have gone to Marion Military Institute in Alabama, a state-run school that is still not VMI, but overall much better from what I hear. It could hardly be worse. I would not trade the handful of genuine friends I made at Wentworth for anything, and I do not include them in the negative things I say about the school overall, as some of them were cadets and some were staff. But overall, these days I find myself wishing I had just gone somewhere else.
What do I recommend high school or college students do?
Don't go to WeWo. No matter what they tell you or try to sell you on, do NOT go there. Odds are you will never get what you came for, you most certainly won't get what you paid for, and the historic, honorable image the school projects will turn out to be phony very, very fast.
High school students would be better off looking at Fork Union Military Academy, Fishburne Military School, Valley Forge Military Academy & College or best of all, Hargrave Military Academy. Hargrave in particular will be an excellent choice. While it's still an expensive private school, unlike Wentworth, you will be attending one of the best-connected and best-run military boarding schools in America. Stop by there for an open house sometime.
College students, consider MMI in Marion, Alabama- tuition is reasonable even for out-of-state cadets, and MMI is the official State Military College of Alabama. You'll notice Wentworth has never held this status in Missouri, and probably never will. It doesn't deserve it, either. For those who can afford it, Valley Forge's 2-year military college is worth a look. MMI, or VFMC, but not Wentworth.
What matters most here is not just the fact that you will learn very little about duty, honor, or country here, but you will pay the same cost or more as you would at a vastly better school. You'll be cheating yourself, if nothing else out of time and money you can never get back. If you have aspirations of attending West Point, VMI, or The Citadel, be advised that the slovenly standards of discipline and leadership at Wentworth more than likely leave you ill-prepared for those colleges, legendary as some of the hardest and most challenging in the country.I am glad to have made the friends I did at Wentworth, among the Corps of Cadets and among the staff. I did make my share of good memories, in particular during my first year in 2011-2012, and I will always remember them. But the negatives of the experience far outweigh the positives. The school is simply too poorly run to justify the financial price you have to pay to go there. Friends and good memories, more of them, could have been made at another, better school, and that is exactly where I should have gone instead.
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