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Cadets push through obstacles for family event

Lisa Dunlap Photo New Mexico Military Institute cadets ascend and descend the “inverted ladder” Saturday morning as parents video-record and take photos.

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According to the New Mexico Military Institute, a good way to reconnect with family is to go through the paces on an obstacle course or at a fitness area while crawling on the ground, yelling fight chants and singing patriotic songs.

It’s been about three weeks since New Mexico Military Institute cadets arrived on campus for the fall semester, and this Saturday was their first chance to talk with parents, family and friends, given that phone, text and email communication has been barred to allow cadets time to adjust to their new environment and focus on training and classes. (Letters and postcards were allowed.)

The “21-Day Ceremony,” which actually occurred this year 23 days after cadets’ first day on campus, brought several hundreds of parents and families to Roswell for a weekend of reunions.

Saturday morning started off with cadets demonstrating some of their new skills at two different areas on campus, the “fitness factory” near the Godfrey Athletic Center and the obstacle course that fronts North Grand Avenue. At the obstacle course, NMMI students made their way through about 10 stations, sometimes having to crawl on their stomachs or backs from station to station. The obstacles included the maze, the high-step, the rope swing, the “Tarzan” high bars, the log roll, the belly roll and the mine field.

Carlsbad mom Michelle Jaure said she was glad to reunite with her son, a first-year junior college student. “He seems more mature, calm,” she said.

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Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, president and superintendent of NMMI, said the weekend is often a welcomed event after what can be a difficult separation for the cadets and their families.

“It’s a very rewarding time because parents often can see the changes in their sons and daughters,” he said. “They have gained some confidence and are saying, ‘No, ma’am’ and ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, sir’ and ‘yes, sir.’”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.


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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.