Family and friends gathered at Lyman Ward Military Academy in Camp Hill for the school's annual Parents' Day and Military Ball on Saturday. A variety of activities were scheduled for the day, which is the largest event of the academic year.
Parents, siblings, friends and alumni attend the annual event, which allows them to tour the campus and meet the instructors, as well as spend time with the cadets
Saturday afternoon, cadets gave several drill demonstrations on the Futch Parade field in front of the school. The main events of the day included a parade, the school's famous traditional sword drill and a dance, held Saturday evening.
Jeff Damron, Lyman Ward counselor and director of student activities, said Parents' Day was a great opportunity for families of cadets to visit the school and see what the cadets have been learning and working towards throughout the academic year. One of the activities of the day was a fencing demonstration. Damron said theatrical fencing is one of many activities available to cadets at the academy.
Tanya and Jeff Tochner attended the military day to spend time with their son and watch the day's events, including the parade. Tanya said she enjoyed the day because she got to see the dorms and the school, and Jeff said the military day presented a great opportunity for him to meet some of his son's teachers.
"We try to offer them a variety of activities outside of the classroom," he said.
According to Damron, the academy has 133 cadets in grades six through 12 and the cadets represent about 25 states and about eight countries. He said the diversity of the student body adds to the distinctive education cadets receive at Lyman Ward.
Karen Walters of Lagrange, Ga. said that she comes to Parents' Day every year to support her son, a sophomore.
"Military Day is always a beautiful day," she said. "We're very proud of our son and proud that he is here at Lyman Ward."
Chris Yauch of Orman Beach, Fla. came to visit her son, a junior at Lyman Ward who has attended the school since he was in seventh grade.
"They receive such a valuable education here," she said. "The structure of the school gives them the opportunity to learn self-discipline and how to be responsible for themselves."
Yauch said that the boarding school atmosphere teaches the cadets to learn to rely on each other and work as a team. She also said that the instructors and administrators at the academy provide a positive, structured environment for the cadets.
"This is the most dedicated group of educators," she said. "They really go the extra mile for the kids."
Walters and Yauch said that the faculty and staff of the school made sure that the school's philosophy was constantly reinforced to the cadets through all aspects of their learning and living experiences.
"It's about moving kids forward into maturity and it works," Yauch said.
Parents' Day was not just for families of the cadets. Many alumni came out to enjoy the day's festivities and reunite with their former classmates. Kyle Nunley was the valedictorian for Lyman Ward's 2004 graduating class. He said that he enjoyed coming back to see his friends and former teachers.
"You build really strong bonds here," Nunley said. "No matter what they say now, these guys will miss everybody and everything when they leave here."