Posted on August 26, 2022
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Categories: News from SDP

This fall, Philadelphia Military Academy (PMA) cadets will be returning to school with a shiny gold star insignia on their uniforms – a symbol of success at the highest level. For the first time in at least ten years, Philadelphia Military Academy was recognized with the highest ranking by the Department of the Army as a Gold Star, which represents the Honor Unit with Distinction (HUD).

“I am incredibly proud of our cadets. They have worked very hard during an unprecedented, virtual environment and return to in-person learning stemming from the pandemic,” said Commandant LTC Russell Gallagher, who heads the JROTC program. “This honor means that they can have great pride in themselves and their own abilities to work toward becoming a qualified, effective and efficient leader.

There are over 1,700 Army JROTC programs and 3,400 total JROTC programs in the US and overseas. Less than five percent (5%) of the Army JROTC programs achieve this recognition. PMA was awarded an Honor Unit with Distinction for the 2022-2023 school year. HUD is a recognition for a JROTC program that has demonstrated exceptional performance in all areas of program operation.

In order to be awarded this rating, the JROTC program must score at least 95 percent (95%) on the JROTC Program of Accreditation. The PMA Army JROTC program received a 98 percent (98%) score on the overall JROTC Program Accreditation (JPA) inspection. Programs can either earn a rating of HUD, Proficient, or Unsatisfactory.

During the 2021-2022 school year, PMA’s JROTC program underwent an external JROTC Program Accreditation (JPA) inspection. This daylong inspection, led by  the Philadelphia Director of Army Instruction, LTC Myron Young, inspected the following areas: continuous improvement, service learning projects, battalion administrative and logistical procedures, cadet curriculum knowledge, drill performance and leadership. This inspection takes place every three years and was completed under then-PMA cadet leadership team consisting of C/COL Keyleisha Diaz, C/LTC Christopher Sarpong, C/LTC Cristopher Espinal, C/LTC Asya Miller, and C/CSM Justin Collazo.

PMA is one of less than a dozen public military high schools in the county and serves approximately 350 students. As a military model school, all students enrolled in the school participate in the JROTC program. Its new school principal, Kristian Ali, was a member of the Marine Corps JROTC at Bensalem High School.

The Philadelphia Military Academy is a city-wide admission school that is committed to promoting academic excellence through sound educational principles and practices conjoined with leadership education training and character building. The school immerses students in military values and disciplines, providing rigorous instruction to prepare diverse learners for college where they will be able to engage in academic programs using military-like methods and values.