Thirty new students were made cadets at Southern Preparatory Academy’s scrub graduation Friday.

Southern Preparatory Academy, formerly known as Lyman Ward Military Academy, holds a scrub program for the first three weeks of school for new students. They learn how to march, do drills and are not allowed phone and leave privileges. 

“They know basically nothing about the military in a sense,” deputy commandant Sgt. Kenneth Nolen said. “It’s an intensive program where we teach them how to march, how to conduct themselves in the military manner while doing academics also.”

Cadets were presented with pins to mark their new ranks and were pinned by friends and family. Parents Aime and Jacob Johnson placed the pin on their son, Nathan Johnson.

“My husband is military,” Aime Johnson said. “He’s a colonel in the Army reserves so of course the tradition and the pageantry and just seeing our son go through this is amazing — very special.”

Aime Johnson said Nathan, 13, wanted to attend Southern Prep because of the opportunities of the academy.

“We’ve been very impressed with our first year here,” Aime Johnson said. “The family, the camaraderie, the way they treat the boys is amazing.”

Cadets Dmitry Tandy, Justin Wallace, Delier Pegram, Wei Leong Tham, Xavier Pope-Cartarato and Johnson were promoted to private E-2 for showing leadership qualities in the first three weeks of school.

“I have high hopes for this group,” cross country coach and lieutenant colonel Jared Norrell said. “We’re off to a good start. You can feel there’s a very different sense of purpose on campus right now than I have felt in a long time so I’m very proud of this crew across the board.”

Norrell told cadets the graduation is a stepping stone and they will do harder things. “You’ve done something that is hard to do,” Norrell said. “I encourage you parents to treat them good. They’ve worked hard in life.”

The school year is going “fantastic,” according to Norrell.

“This year everything’s turned out really great,” Norrell. “The aviation program is going strong.”

More than 80 students attend Southern Prep which is actively recruiting students, according to Nolen.

“I think that what we do here is an amazing thing and it teaches kids and prepares them for the work of life,” Nolen said. “They find out what hard work is at a young age and it puts them miles ahead of young kids in the same peer group.”