Riverside Preparatory Academy

Cadet Takes Leadership Skills He Learned at RMA Into the Real World

James Palmer
"...I have learned how to become a better person, and more importantly, a better leader.” -- Christian Jones,
Graduating senior Christian Jones never thought of himself as a leader. Disorganized and unable to finish things, Jones, and his parents, felt he wasn’t living up to his potential in public school. But that all changed when he enrolled at Riverside.

“My dad was in the Navy for 21 years, and I have always wanted to join the military,” said Jones. After many conversations with his parents about how a more structured environment might be better for him, they visited Riverside for a campus tour. “I was not exactly thrilled about the idea at first,” said Jones, but he soon realized that Riverside could help him achieve his goal of becoming a military officer.

“I was really impressed with some of the older cadets who were helping with the tour and how they spoke to the parents and how confident they seemed. I knew that was something that I wanted for myself.”

His parents convinced him to give it a try for one year. “I never thought that I would stay four-and-a-half years,” he said.

Jones gained crucial leadership skills in several important roles at RMA, including Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Honor Council Chairman, and Executive Producer of the school’s Eagle News Network, a cadet-run broadcast video production program that records and livestreams school events. Jones was also captain of the Raider team, who won a national championship this year.

“I still can’t believe we did it,” he said of winning the championship. “It was awesome!”

Now that Jones has graduated, he has his sights set on something even bigger. He has a full, four-year Naval ROTC scholarship to Ole Miss, where he is majoring in Economics while minoring in International Studies. After college, he plans to commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Jones credits RMA for his success. “I learned how to manage my time efficiently, to be involved in multiple sports, and take on leadership roles within my company and in the Corps. Throughout these experiences, I have learned how to become a better person, and more importantly, a better leader.”

His mother Maria agrees. “We have seen tremendous change in our son since he started at RMA. He has the foundation to be successful in college and in the real world,” she said.