Massanutten Military Academy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Massanutten Military Academy
Massnutten Military Academy Shield.gif
The Massanutten Military Academy Shield

614 S. Main Street
Woodstock, Virginia 22664-1205

38.88 N, 78.51 W
Type Coeducational, Independent college preparatory boarding military school
Motto Non Nobis Solum ("Not for Ourselves Alone")
Established 1899
Head of School Dr. David Skipper
Commandant of Cadets Lieutenant Colonel Lester Layman - U.S.Army(Ret)
Grades 6–12, PG
Color(s) Purple, Gold
Mascot Colonels
Nickname Colonels
Accreditation VAIS, SACS, NAIS
Newspaper Massanutten Matters
Yearbook Adjutant

Massanutten Military Academy (MMA) is a coeducational college preparatory school for grades 6 through 12 and one academic postgraduate year, located in Woodstock, Virginia, United States.


The Massanutten Military Academy, named for the nearby mountain, was established by the Virginia Classis of the Reformed Church in 1899.[1] The school opened on 12 September 1899 with 40 students, half of whom were boarders.[2] From the beginning the school was coed, with the first graduating class in 1902 consisting of 3 boys and 3 girls.[3] In 1905 the first of two significant events in the history of the school occurred: Howard J. Benchoff was appointed the school president. He stayed in that position for nearly 5 decades, to be succeeded for the next decade and a half by his son.[4] Lantz Hall, the second structure on the academy grounds, was begun in 1907 and dedicated in 1909, to accommodate a growing student population.[5]

During the early years of his stewardship Benchoff established several polices. The first was expanding the school size to include number of students, staff, buildings, and acreage.[6] The second, as a result of an otherwise undocumented "incident", was limiting the boarding department to boys beginning in 1910.[7] The last policy, and the second significant event in the school's early history, was adopting a military program.[8] While the program was not implemented until 1917, early in his tenure Benchoff described the goal of a military program as "to train the boys with a discipline that is valuable and give them that easy and graceful carriage which is an accomplishment in any gentleman's claim to culture"[9] In 1930 after receiving an application and inspecting the existing program, the U.S. War Department formally made the school a JrROTC unit "placing it on a par with the highest rated military schools in the country".[10]

In 1984 the school began using the name Massanutten Military Academy. However, in many legal documents the name was still Massanutten Academy. In 2013 to end the associated name confusion, the school reverted to its original name of Massanutten Academy. Despite the dropping of Military from its name, the school retained its military tradition and JROTC unit, but in 2014 when certain members of the administration resigned the school decided to return the Military in the name.

Academy Presidents / Headmasters / Superintendents / Head of Schools[11]


Dr. David Skipper is the current Head of School. The Commandant of Cadets is Lieutenant Colonel Lester Layman, U.S. Army (Ret.). Average enrollment is around 125 students. MMA is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Honor Code[edit]

As part of its mission the academy has a Cadet Honor Code patterned after the one at West Point. "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." The Cadet Honor Council consists of juniors and seniors selected by the senior class and the faculty, as approved by the Head of School. When a suspected honor code violation is reported, the Honor Council faculty advisers convene the Council for a hearing at which the cadets involved are required to explain their conduct. The Honor Council recommends punishment and/or other measures appropriate to educate the Cadet Corps about the expectations of honorable behavior. Final approval lies with the Head of School. Continued, repeated violations of the Honor Code may warrant dismissal from the Academy.[12]

JROTC Program[edit]

Massanutten Military Academy ROTC shoulder sleeve insignia
Massanutten Military Academy ROTC shoulder loop insignia worn by members of the Gearing Rifles Drill Team

MMA’s Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) is consistently recognized as an Honor Unit with Distinction.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Klein, Robert (2001). An American Century - The History of Massanutten Military Academy. Woodstock, VA: Massanutten Military Academy. pp. 7–10. ISBN 0-9711865-0-2. 
  2. ^ Shenandoah Herald, September 15, 1899, Image 3
  3. ^ Garrison, J. Silor (1948). The history of the Reformed Church in Virginia, 1714-1940. Winston-Salem, NC: Clay Printing Co. pp. 289–295. 
  4. ^ Klein 2001, pp. 21–182.
  5. ^ Karen C. Clay (August 1992). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Lantz Hall" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 
  6. ^ Klein 2001, pp. 30–34.
  7. ^ Klein 2001, pp. 49–51.
  8. ^ 1948 & Garrison, pp. 175.
  9. ^ "Massanutten Military Academy". Shenandoah Herald. September 8, 1905. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "The ROTC Unit". Oyez. October 20, 1930. p. 3. 
  11. ^ Klein 2001, p. 260.
  12. ^ "Military schools " United States " Virginia " Woodstock Massanutten Military Academy". Retrieved 14 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°52′33″N 78°30′39″W / 38.87583°N 78.51083°W / 38.87583; -78.51083