New Military Academy Opens in Kent Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Military Academy Opens in Kent Co.

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CLAYTON, Del. (WBOC) - Lots of schools are going back to school this week and next. But for one Kent County school it's not back to school but the start of the school altogether.

This week, First State Military Academy opened in Clayton.

Up to now, the Delaware Military Academy in the Wilmington area has been the closest military academy option for people in Delaware, really Delmarva as a whole. It opened in 2003.

In a lot of ways, FSMA is like a regular school. In a lot of ways, it is most definitely not.

The students - for now this public charter school only has 9th and 10th graders - all participate in Marine Corps Junior ROTC every day.

Senior Marine Instructor Col. Bob Wallace says it instills Marine values and customs.

"That is going to permeate throughout their schools day, not just while they're in the classroom with us," said Col. Wallace.

It moves into more traditional classroom, too. 

Stephan Wright is a freshman and had been attending a local, regular public school. Wright and other students know this experience will be different.

"I just decided to come here, because it's more of an opportunity for me to shine out more, instead of staying somewhere I wasn't going to be noticed that much," he said.

"It helps me build responsibility, leadership and all of that that will tie in later on," said Angeli Alvarez, a sophomore.

Patrick Gallucci is the school's commandant, basically the principal. He  says kids are coming from as far away as Lewes and Millsboro, Claymont and Newark.

Gallucci says the idea for this school came right out of the success of the Delaware Military Academy in New Castle County.

"Let's try to do this in Kent County," he said. "And maybe after we do well, in eight years, we'll go down to Sussex County."

Some of these kids will go on to military service. Others won't.

"I'm interested in going to the either the US Naval Academy or US Air Force Academy," Kegan Walker, a freshman, said. "I feel that this is a great tool to help me prep for that."

"Personally, I'm not interested in the military. But I like the opportunities that this school will open up," said sophomore Tate Phillipson.

Gallucci says either way students get value out of this kind of education.

"We always ask - why are we here? It's to give the students the knowledge, skills and attributes that when they leave our school will help them have success in college, work and civic life."

Gallucci says there are about 200 students going to FSMA right now. The school has capacity for more than 500. It will add a grade each of the next two years.

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