Cadets are ready for the future

Jakob Long

WOODSTOCK – Cadets at Massanutten Military Academy are ready to graduate on Saturday.

Jakob Long, 18, from Longhorne, Pennsylvania, is a second-year student of the military academy and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.

“Graduating is going to be tough for most of the seniors because one thing that people don’t realize is once you get out of here you start to miss it a lot,” he said.

He said the last two years at the academy have been interesting for him after coming from the public school system in Longhorne.

“It was a big culture shock for me,” he said. “I learned a lot of structure and discipline here that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else.”

He added that in his public school his grades weren’t what  they should have been, but after attending the academy, he has taken honor and STEM classes.

The academy has “basically given me a 180-degree change,” he said.

He runs on a strict schedule at the academy that he said has helped him get to where he is today.

At 6 a.m. he wakes up and attends breakfast at 6:45 a.m. Classes begin at 8 a.m. with a lunch break at noon. Classes resume until between 2:40 and 3:20 p.m. depending upon the day. At 4 p.m. he attends sports formations that include football, weightlifting and a ranger training game.

He said Sgt. Richard Kurtz really pushed him into attending the academy full-time after working with him during a summer program.

Long said the past year has really been a memorable year to him, but he singled out leading this year’s homecoming parade where he called out commands for drill movements. At the time, he had suffered a hand injury from football so his salutes weren’t as accurate as they should have been, he said.

In the fall, Long will be attending Drexel University on a three year ROTC scholarship and will be studying criminal justice with plans to work for Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.

Before entering college, he plans to spend a month in Poland over the summer.

Lori Campbell, director of marketing and communications said 25 cadets will be graduating Saturday.

One will be entering the Navy and the remaining 24 will enter college.

The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday on the front lawn. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the gym.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com