Developing men of character through holistic education


Men of character are made, not born – a fact that Hargrave Military Academy knows best. While most military academies are known for their core values ​​of duty, service, and self-discipline, Hargrave offers a student experience that encompasses much more. Young men here not only graduate as academics, but as well-rounded leaders, athletes and individuals who are prepared for lifelong success.

Located in Chatham, Virginia, Hargrave has kept his cadets engaged, challenged, and inspired since 1909. While many military schools focus solely on improving behavior or grades, a quick walk around his campus shows that there is so much more to a Hargrave education than this. Hargrave’s holistic approach and structured environment gives its graduates the tools they need to be leaders of character ready for lifelong success.

Hargrave offers a rewarding educational environment with two distinguishing characteristics: structure and responsibility, allowing young men to apply their attention to the areas that matter most while eliminating distractions. The emphasis on spiritual development is also important here, and cadets –– between Grades 7 and 12 and graduate students –– benefit from faith development and access to extracurricular activities. based on spirituality. The youngest boys in grades 7, 8 and 9 participate in a dedicated academic program at the Middle School Center for Integrated Studies, where they hone specific skills that will ensure academic and interpersonal success later in life.

Hargrave cadets have many opportunities to realize their potential and develop the skills they need to reach it. Just ask Rob Bartenstein, graduating class of 1987, who says: “HMA taught me autonomy, how to study, concentrate and learn; it taught me how to win, and this victory has benefits that are worth working hard for. They taught me the discipline, how to lead and how to follow.

The four pillars of Hargrave are the basis of its success:


Hargrave teaches young cadets how to be effective leaders – not only those who make a difference in the boardrooms, but who lead at home, in their churches and in their communities. The Cadet Corps’ military structure teaches them to build confidence, lead their peers, make sound and ethical decisions, and receive gracious feedback when provided.

Seven basic character traits are also reinforced each month, on a rotational basis, in all aspects of the Hargrave experience – whether it’s academics, athletics, residential living, or spiritual programs. At the Center for Leadership and Ethics –– which cadets have access to as of Grade 7 –– they begin to explore and develop basic character skills. The leadership program will follow them throughout their journey, starting with a Leadership I course before moving on to Leadership II.

The emphasis on character building led to Hargrave’s recognition as the only military high school in Virginia certified as a national character school.

Hargrave is the only military high school in Virginia certified as a National School of Character. Source: Hargrave Military Academy


Hargrave is a school built on Christian principles and helps the spiritual development of the young people in their care. Despite this, boys of all faiths are welcome to enjoy this transformative educational experience. Involvement in a local church is encouraged but not required.

Here, each background is inspired to explore their spirituality in their own way to lay a solid foundation for building rewarding lives. Worship and fellowship are always the focal points of the community. That said, attendance at chapel services twice a week is a requirement. Equally significant is the daily devotional time, as it allows students to reflect quietly on their own, in an intimate group, or in a large group.

Various programs are also available to make the Hargrave experience even more holistic, ensuring enrichment of souls alongside bodies and spirits. During Spiritual Focus Month, guest speakers and preachers tour the school while special music and group bonding experiences are held throughout campus. Transportation is provided for cadets who wish to venture into nearby churches for service or to serve.


Hargrave also offers rigorous academic education that lays the foundation for the knowledge needed for college and develops students’ critical thinking and learning skills. The Academy offers a How To Study program, which teaches effective study habits such as note taking, homework planning, and test preparation. This offer ensures that cadets never feel frustrated or overwhelmed by the tasks presented to them throughout their academic career.

The Academic Learning Center prepares cadets with individual assessment and appropriate placement in math, reading and English. When it is time to apply the knowledge, each cadet does so during the study room sessions and their allotted individual instruction time. Other advanced course offerings include dual enrollment, advanced placement, specialty courses, and various online modules.

Is it a formula that works? Graduation classes consistently achieve a 100% college acceptance rate, and more than 75 cadets have been accepted into service academies across the United States. Last year, graduate scholarships awarded to students totaled more than US $ 4 million.

Hargrave Military Academy

A total of 29 Hargrave alumni qualified to play in the NBA, while over 100 went on to become Division I athletes. Source: Hargrave Military Academy

Sports and athletics

Hargrave’s students excel just as well outside of the classroom. They train their bodies through one of the Academy’s 11 varsity sports offerings: baseball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, golf, rifle, soccer, swimming / diving, tennis, track and field or wrestling. Each sport is guided by coaches trained by the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Through the Marine Corps Certified Obstacle Course and Leader Reaction Course, cadets learn the fundamental skills of teamwork, critical thinking and decision-making, which will serve them well in life. Some have found the calling of their lives while developing these skills. In fact, 29 alumni have qualified for the NBA while over 100 have gone on to become Division I athletes.

Collectively, these experiences help form well-rounded students who are prepared for the challenges of life.

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