By Kim Walter
As of three weeks ago, Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock has dropped a word from its name, and is now Massanutten Academy.
The private school was founded in 1899 as Massanutten Academy, according to Sarajane Trier, enrollment manager and marketing director.
"The school actually never legally changed its name to Massanutten Military Academy," she said. "All the way into the 80s, it was still being referenced under both names."
She said 'military' was likely added to help identify a profile for the school. However, the Junior Reserves Officers' Training Corps program was and still is registered under the original name.
The students' patches and other paraphernalia also sport the MA name.
The name change came about as part of the school's long-term strategic plan, Trier said. While the military component of the academy will remain, the board of trustees felt Massanutten Academy better reflected what the school is all about, and what it will be in the future. The decision was made during a board meeting on Oct. 11.
"We took a look back and said, 'What's the heritage?'" she said. "Who was MA, and who do we want to be?"
At the end of the day, the board felt that Massanutten Academy is a school first and foremost.
Additionally, Trier recognized that having 'military' mixed in with a school's name can have some negative connotations.
"We aren't a reform facility, we aren't training students for a branch of military service," she said. "We use some things from the military that help kids, yes, but we're really looking at being a school and keeping a few military traditions."
While students and faculty were a bit surprised over the announcement, Trier said that once they learned that MA has been the school's legal name since its beginning, it made more sense.
"A lot of folks didn't realize," she said. "But the day-to-day life here hasn't changed. Some kids will probably still say MMA, and that's alright, but as a school and for future students, we are moving forward with this new name."
The academy will have to order some new signs and business cards, and a new logo can be found upon visiting its website.
Trier said it will take about a year to fully get through the change, but everyone seems to be excited and on board for whatever the future holds.
"What's in a name? Well only everything," she said. "But it feels right to return to our original, legal name, with which we've had great success."
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org