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Fostering tradition

Millersburg Military Institute
growing despite financial woes

Boys’ school on a fund raising
drive to keep mission alive

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer


PROSPECT, Ky. (September 2005) – From the time she was in third grade, Prospect, Ky., resident Lucy Kerman has been mesmerized with the Millersburg Military Institute. Visitors to the Millersburg, Ky., campus near Lexington can’t help but notice the school’s charm.

Lucy Kerman

Photo by Don Ward

Lucy Kerman is a Millersburg advocate,
whose brothers, cousin and son graduated
from the Institute, near Lexington, Ky.

Kerman’s two older brothers attended the school, which instructs boys from grades 7-12 for college preparatory classes. It has a “character developing program that most schools today don’t have,” she said. Kerman's son, Lance, graduated from there last year.
The Institute has a character that speaks for itself, Kerman said. “My brothers turned out to be such honorable, family men,” she said.
The Institute is the only military school in the state of Kentucky out of about 30 left in the country.
Although the instructors are paid less than the average teacher, they teach at the Institute because of their love of the school and what they do. “I’ve never seen so much love in one school,” said Kerman.
Col. Carl Meade Best founded the school in 1893 and named it the Millersburg Training School. At that time, it was under the jurisdiction of the Methodist Church. In 1898, Col. Best purchased the campus from the church and renamed the school.
Col. Best, who operated the school until 1920, believed that a structured lifestyle combined with education would benefit the nation and the military.
Cadets are trained to be leaders on and off the 18-acre campus, located 25 minutes north of Lexington. The school adheres to a strict cadet honor code: “A cadet does not lie, cheat or steal.”

Lance Kerman

Photo provided by Lucy Kerman

Lucy Kerman's son,
Lance, center,
graduated from the
Institute last year.

The school has kept its doors open for 112 years because “people believe in the values the school teaches,” said former president, Col. James P. Carruthers. Through a series of restructuring moves, Carruthers stepped down from this position to become chairman of the board and conduct fund raising activities for the school.
The school is an independent, non-profit institution. It has struggled, financially, to keep its doors open but is currently in a growth spurt, but money is still desperately needed for operational costs.
Carruthers, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, was the vice president of the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Ala., the nation’s oldest military preparatory school and junior college. He was asked to bring Millersburg back to its former prominence.
The institute teaches leadership through respect, said Carruthers. Cadets are prepared for four years of college and life, and to be leaders. “At this age, it’s powerful to experience,” he said. The middle school age is an important, formulative time in these cadet’s lives, he added.
Some prominent Millersburg graduates include William K. Suter (Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court), nuclear scientist Dr. William Layson, and Kentucky author Wendell Berry. They have all attributed their success to Millersburg, said Carruthers.
The majority of cadets are from Kentucky but also include students from Romania, Switzerland, France and Korea. Students are required to remain on campus throughout the week and two weekends a month. The dormitory can hold 100 students, but only about 50 are currently enrolled.
Carruthers said he expects student attendance to climb steadily back to where it once was. He hopes to restore the philosophy of the school back to its 1893 beginnings. Many of the school’s principles mirror the Ten Commandments, a creed forbidden to be on display in many schools today. “The Ten Commandments teach honorable living,” said Carruthers.
Allison’s Concrete Co. of Blue Licks, Ky., has recently donated a monument of the Ten Commandments to be displayed in front of the institute.
A special unveiling ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 10, in the Womack Gymnasium on campus. This invitation-only event will be held in conjunction with the school’s annual Christmas celebration, and many dignitaries are expected to attend.

• For more information, contact Millersburg Military Institute at (859) 484-3352 or visit www.themilitaryschool.com.

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