One of my favourite events at Robert Land Academy is the Graduation Parade and Closing Ceremonies. The students are happy and excited to be heading home for summer break; parents are happy and thrilled to see their sons; the graduating class is both excited and nervous to be heading to post-secondary institutions; and there is a truly joyful atmosphere on campus.
For myself and certainly for the rest of the staff, Graduation is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the cadets and see how far they’ve come. The celebration at Robert Land Academy started Thursday, June 14 with a barbecue for the graduating class, which was followed by a special awards presentation on Friday where cadets received the medals and pins they had earned and many awards were presented. Saturday, June 16 was the final graduation parade and closing ceremony. Major General Kenneth Nava, Adjutant General of the New Mexico National Guard gave us the honour of inspecting the cadets and giving our commencement address, deepening our strong ties to the New Mexico National Guard.
All photos of the event can be seen here.
For the past decade every Robert Land Academy graduate who has applied to post-secondary institutions has been accepted – a 100% success rate we’re very proud of. This year was no different, as we announced students heading to Connestoga College in Kitchener, ON; Fanshawe College in London; ON, Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON; Western University in London, ON; University of Toronto; University of Manitoba; University of Lethbridge in Alberta; University of British Columbia; Bishop’s University in Quebec; and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.
Shortly after the ceremony came to a close, cadets were changing into civilian gear, gathering their belongings, finding their parents and signing out for the break. An afternoon of chaos that leads, inevitably, to a summer of calm and quiet for Robert Land Staff.
The summer months at RLA are a time for staff to reflect on the past academic year and determine what, if any, changes need to be made to our program or procedures; for me to look over parent and student comments to see how we at RLA can make the school experience better for each family without compromising our core values and mission; and for maintenance staff to take on any repairs or refurbishments the campus may require.
After having just completed the renovation of bathroom facilities in all three Barracks and Loyalist Hall (where high school classes are held) we are planning for a major refurbishment of the Brock Barracks building – which houses our Grades 5 to 8 students. We’ve ordered new beds, we are planning on installing an HVAC system, and we will be upgrading the electrical system in the building and sprucing up the entire barracks.
This revamp of Brock Barracks is part of a long-term plan to refurbish all three barracks over the next two years.
This summer the Academy will also be adding security cameras to the mess hall, gymnasium and classrooms. Some of the common areas of the campus, both indoors and outdoors, already have a closed circuit television system in place as part of our commitment to keep the boys, staff and visitors safe at all times. The additional cameras are being installed to improve campus security and safety for everyone who lives at, works at or visits the Academy.
While we are busy preparing to welcome the students back, along with many new recruits, in September, we wish all of our cadets, and their families, a safe and enjoyable summer.