Jenifer Bender has watched her son Blake’s growth throughout his four years at Howe Military Academy.
“Blake is now the battalion command sergeant major of the corps of cadets,” the Fishers resident said. “With rank advancement, if the school stays open next year, he’s likely to become the battalion commander. It’s the highest-ranking cadet held position which Blake has worked very hard for, and has been his personal goal.”
Howe Military Academy, a boarding school in northern Indiana, is set to close after 135 years at the end of the school year. Blake started at Howe in eighth grade.
“I was blindsided when I heard the news,” Bender said. “The reality if we can’t open the school is (the seniors) are going to have to finish out of state. They’re not going to get to graduate with the cadets who have become like family at the academy. It’s hard for them, everything they’ve worked for. Blake was destroyed at first when he heard.”
Bender said the Parents Association is seeking to raise significant donations and pledges to re-open the academy for the 2019-20 school year.
The academy hopes to rely more on parent feedback, under new leadership.
“We’re going to work to reduce the cost of admission to make the school more accessible in hoping to provide more families with scholarships through donations ,” said Bender, who is vice president of the Parents Association and serves as barber for the academy
Blake, the 2020 class president, is a Professional Association of Diving Instructors master scuba diver, is a member of varsity precision drill, soccer and basketball teams at Howe.
There are 74 students at the academy.
Blake said it’s important to graduate with his fellow cadets, with whom he has formed lifelong friendships.
“Attending Howe has been an amazing experience. I’ve had opportunities to see, and take part, in events around the world,” Blake said. “Howe has enabled me to become not only a better individual, I’ve become a successful and confident leader with pride, honor, integrity and self-discipline.”
Blake said he is honored to be part of Howe’s traditions and history and to carry on its legacy.
“There aren’t words to say what this school has done for my son,” Bender said. “He’s become a leader. The younger cadets look up to Blake and go to him when they have problems.”
Bender said Blake struggled with his grades in public schools but recently achieved his goal of making the National Honor Society.
For more, visit givesendgo.com/Howeparents