Whether enrolled at Randolph-Macon Academy as a day or boarding student, for one year or seven years, parents and students have much to say about effectiveness of this private college-prep military school. Below is a mix of video and written testimonials.
"R-MA has been an amazingly positive experience for my son. He is academically thriving in the small classrooms size, and the life at R-MA is building his character beyond what I would have been able to offer him alone from home. I consider sending my son to R-MA the most important investment I will ever be able to do for his future."
Davis Holland Leichsenring
Parent of Joseph Leichsenring ’17
"I am amazed at the change in attitude of Kristina when talking about academics and teachers. She basically has done a 180 about face from her public school attitude in willingness to put forth her best effort and reap those rewards that come with hard work! I never believed her to be lazy or incapable of mastering higher level skills and enjoying the challenges that come from upper level classes but teachers truly are a motivating force for her. She has made a connection with all of her R-MA teachers and wants to work for them because of the mutual respect they share for each other. Teachers believe in her because they have taken the time to get to know her and understand her needs. She is studying consistently with positive comments and reinforcement from her teachers.
"She has mentioned on more that one occasion how grateful she is for the mentoring program. It is important to her that she has someone looking out for her and guiding her through the programs at R-MA as well as helping her maneuver the college application processes. This has also been a weight off my mind that knowing that a more knowledgeable adult is there to help the family through the ins and outs of the higher education maze."
Mother of Kristina Miranda '12
"William has benefited substantially in his academic pursuits from the strong mentoring and attention focusing efforts by the faculty. This has enabled William to realize his academic potential. Our ability on line to monitor daily William’s academy progress has been very useful in keeping him focused even when we are 325 miles distant.
"All the faculty and school administrative staff have been extremely helpful on any issue, including dealing with all the numerous requests for recommendations, transcripts, counselor reports, etc. needed for all of William’s university and college applications. I well realize William is not the only cadet making these demands. My wife and I remain delighted at William’s decision to attend R-MA and have never once regretted that he took this step. It has made all the difference for William."
Father of William Camp '12
"There are so many ways in which William has grown since being at Randolph- Macon Academy! We are every so proud of him and most thankful to the staff and faculty of R-MA.
"Those years from middle school to high school can be a challenge for young boys, particularly socially and academically . William was presented with both, as well as a difficult family crisis.
"R-MA has been William's home away from home--a learning adventure! He absolutely loves the environment of the school…the family atmosphere that is present between the faculty and students makes learning interesting within a unique and friendly setting.
As a student at R-MA , William has grown into a happy and confident young man with a passion for sports and US History. These have been an enormous source of interest for him and we can only credit the programs to have had such an impact. Overall the structure of the school has benefited William greatly, and it truly is with a sense of parental joy to see the positive growth…his attention to self-management that has been fostered through life at R-MA."
Mother of Will Dennis '13
"[Austin gained] self-discipline and focus. He's become very independent. It's hard to point to one class or teacher [that has made the difference]. It's the combination of caring teachers, admin staff, other motivated students/roommates, sports coaches, etc. All the teachers and staff really want your child to succeed. I've never received this kind of attention/care anywhere else! I'm very grateful for all that R-MA has done for Austin. R-MA is the perfect prescription for inspiration and discipline so needed for teen boys. "
Hye Kyung Lee
Mother of Austin Lee '15
"[We have observed in Savannah] increased initiative and self-reliance. This is reflected in various ways, including her willingness to approach faculty members, choice of extracurricular activities, and consideration of colleges in various parts of the country. [She has developed] maturity in interpersonal relations, work ethic, breadth of interests, ability to set and pursue goals.
"Membership in the chorus has validated and broadened her interest in music, developed her capacity for teamwork, and provided travel opportunities. Roles in the theater productions also have had a substantial impact, resulting in greater self-esteem and shaping interests for the college and professional years. The strong German program at -RMA has allowed her to continue to excel in this area of interest and provided an opportunity for learning in an immersion environment both at R-MA and on an overseas study program scheduled for this summer. Her 10th grade English teacher has really sparked her interest by presenting information using many forms of media and asking the class to interact and respond using these media.
"Because of the intimate size of R-MA, Savannah has had the opportunity to participate in everything from Rocketry to Cheerleading to Drama, Chorus, and even the Poetry Slam.
"We and Savannah are very pleased with the place she has made for herself at R-MA so far. We are certain that she will continue to prosper at R-MA at a level well beyond what would have been possible at her local public high school, and that she will continue to find new paths for personal growth."
Rick and Sherry Rhodes
Parents of Savannah Rhodes '14
"Ian has benefited from his time at R-MA most specifically through the daily structure of schedules. He was in need of specific time slots to address his homework completion, as well as time for sports/extracurricular activities, all of which are essential to his development. This structure not only helps him daily, but instills in him the importance of prioritizing educational responsibility and the discipline required for educational achievement."
Parent of Ian Richardson '12
"When Sami arrived at R-MA he had very low esteem caused by the teaching methods used at his former school. R-MA, through its staff, teachers, curriculum, and teaching methods not only gave him enough confidence to start believing in himself again, but also inculcated in him the desire to learn and excel. He set goals for himself to be the best human being he could be. A clear indication that he feels very comfortable at R-MA and its academic program is that he has asked us to keep him at R-MA for the rest of secondary education.
"Sami has clearly grown and matured tremendously. His demeanor is more calm and reflective. While R-MA enforces strict discipline and adherence to the rules, thus teaching responsibility, it also encourages freedom of thought and exploration of new ideas, thus encouraging him to ponder about world events. Sami also appreciates the diversity of the school and the respect all staff and teachers show for all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Sami feels “at home” at R-MA.
"R-MA, unlike many other schools, believes in bringing out the best out of its students, and encourages them to learn. Through its exceptional and unique academic approach, Sami’s desire and ability to learn has increased greatly. Overall I can only recommend R-MA to other families who want only the best for their kids."
Mustapha Rechache, Ph.D
Parent of Sami Rechache '11
"R-MA saved my daughter by providing an environment that fosters discipline, responsibility, leadership, and educational opportunities to learn and grow. At R-MA the character that my daughter acquired helped her to be more responsible and take the lead in her environment both at school and in her community. I know she will maintain these qualities into her college years and I know that she is bound for success."
Parent of Natalie Pendie ‘15
"R-MA has been a guiding light for Khaleeq. The teachers and mentors have instilled character and self-esteem and respect. R-MA has afforded him the opportunity to experience new and different ways to accomplish life's tasks. Khaleeq has grown personally, academically, and socially. Because of his experience at R-MA, he is well-equipped to engage, analyze, and act upon life's challenges, victories, and uncertainties."
Parent of Khaleeq Everett '12
"Meghan has grown intellectually, spiritually, and physically during her past 2 1/2 years at R-MA. Even though some of the "gains" are part of the natural maturation process, she has achieved a "self realization" that I believe is attributed directly to the R-MA experience. I spoke with her three older siblings during the holiday break (Dec 2011) and they said she has an incredible self-realization that they never had at her age (13). The realization is that she can take charge (and control) of how much she wants to learn and in so doing, she will have many career choices.
"R-MA's flexibility with forward placement of students in courses that are challenging has contributed greatly to Meghan's intellectual growth. During 6th grade she took all of the standard courses but tested out in Math Plus. This was the beginning of her realization that there were no limits on the opportunities to learn while attending R-MA. It was up to her to determine how much she wanted to learn and how fast.
"Meghan had never played an organized sport prior to attending R-MA. R-MA's practice of every student participating in a sport motivated Meghan to ask if she could be the Manager for the Middle School Soccer Team during her 6th grade year. She was able to observe a team sport and yet be an active participant which gave her the confidence to try out for the Girls Volleyball team in 7th grade. There was a strong team of 8th graders that year so she did not get much playing time; however, she learned again from watching and the coaches were amazing at working with her. She tried out for the Girls Volleyball team in 8th grade and was nominated as Captain. She grew from being a follower to a leader in two years."
Parent of Meghan Melberg '16
"We moved to Front Royal, VA because of R-MA. My husband and I wanted Ashley to have the best education possible -- R-MA was the place for her. The public schools were too crowded and too many gangs -- we didn't want her falling into the wrong crowd.
"R-MA has smaller classes and the ratio of student to teacher is FANTASTIC. The smaller classes have helped Ashley grow and learn so much. The middle school staff at R-MA are unbelievable. The teachers keep in touch with the parents. If we or they have any concerns -- the door is always open. They praise Ashley and recognizing her when she excels. The R-MA staff wants your child to succeed and Ashley is proof of that.
"I thank God we found R-MA. If you want your child to succeed and have caring teachers and staff help them grow into the best they can be -- I would stop by and meet the R-MA staff. You will feel like you have know them your whole life.
"Ashley has not only excelled in her academics, but as a young lady. She is maturing into a very nice young lady and we have R-MA to thank for that. Thanks!"
David and Bonnie Birk
Parents of Ashley Birk '11
"Our biggest concern for our son, regarding attending Randolph-Macon Academy, was would he flourish as a boarding student 7 hours from home. The first month we did not discuss it with him, only provided encouragement, then on our subsequent visit I asked him, "Did we (collective we) make the right decision for you?" Our son's response was "Yes Dad." Thinking he was only telling me what I wanted to hear, I next asked him, "Why?" Our son's response was, "Because I am being challenged Dad." Our son never showed any signs of homesickness, due to the excellent dormitory staff and weekend activities; as well as the caring academic staff. We are more than impressed with the results we have seen in our son after this first year and he looks forward to returning in the fall."
Verne and Tanya Mounts
Parents of Ian Mounts ’19
Kathy Heer, Parent of Michael Heer '07, takes you through her family's experience from the first realization that maybe they ought to check out a boarding school, through the decision-making process, the first tumultuous year, and her son's triumphant walk across the stage at graduation. She also e-mailed us a follow-up about Michael while he was in college!
Verne Mounts, Parent of Ian Mounts '19, speaks of the reason behind the decision to look into boarding schools for their middle schooler, how they found R-MA, and what R-MA has provided their son.