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14. Lyman Ward Military Academy, Camp Hill, Alabama
Since the United States currently has only 71 private secondary military boarding schools, Lyman Ward Military Academy stands apart from the usual educational model. In fact, out of these 71 schools, Lyman Ward is one of 13 male-only boarding schools, offering a specialized experience to every young man who becomes part of its roster.
Founded in 1898 by a New York minister who sought to bring educational opportunities to Alabamians who did not have the benefits of public education, Lyman Ward is located in rural south-east Alabama in the small community of Camp Hill. The school evolved into a military academy but retains its non-denominational Christian values.
Lyman Ward is a small school by design, which allows the faculty and staff to identify and develop each cadet’s areas of strength, focusing on intellectual, spiritual and physical growth. The school specializes in boys who wish to improve their focus, study habits and academic standing. Any boy entering grades 6 – 12 may apply to attend the school.
Lyman Ward encompasses 300 acres, including two five-acre lakes, two athletic fields and a parade field. Although the school is deep in rural Alabama, it is only about 19 miles from the twin cities of Auburn-Opelika, Alabama, home of Auburn University and East Alabama Medical Center, the nearest acute care hospital.
Lyman Ward offers a college preparatory diploma, and over 90 percent of graduates continue their education in college. The other 10 percent typically join the military as enlisted men. In addition to regular curricula, the school also offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as a dual enrollment option in nearby Central Alabama Community College.
The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA). In addition, Lyman Ward is a member of three professional organizations: the Association of Military Schools and Colleges in the United States (AMSCUS), the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Alabama Association of Independent Schools (AAIS).
Football is the favorite sport among the students at Lyman Ward, whose mascot is the Rangers. However, basketball, soccer and baseball also have strong standings in the AISA AAA division. The rifle team competes in the Alabama Northeast Area Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Rifle League.
In addition to sports, the school has a color guard, open to all high school cadets, which competes in JROTC competitions throughout Alabama.