Riverside Preparatory Academy

A Choice Well Made

Ellen DeFoor
At the age of 14, Jason B. Avery, '94, made a decision that would change his life forever. 

Sports had much to do with his decision as he hoped to play at the collegiate level one day, and he understood the importance of good grades in making that dream a reality. A neighbor told him about RMA. He asked his parents to tour the campus, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I wasn’t the best student and being away from my family in a new and completely different environment that included responsibilities and accountability to a degree which I had never known was hard, and I questioned being there,” Avery recalled.

RMA is a 24/7 immersion program. Waking and going to bed to the sounds of "Reveille" and "Taps," learning to march for pass in review and parades, and mandatory study hours are just a few components of the RMA educational experience that make it unique and challenging.

“It took some time to get acclimated, but once I did, the personal growth I experienced was amazing,” said Avery. “I wanted to return every year because of my coaches and friends. Colonel Maginnis, Coach Bisso, and Coach Jefferson each had a knack of catching you in the hall and sharing stories that were motivational and inspiring you to keep working hard. My best friends from RMA became friends for life. ‘Brothers in Blue’ became a life-long bond, not just an expression.”
Following graduation in 1994, Avery went to West Georgia College to play football but ultimately transferred to the University of North Georgia and joined the Corps of Cadets. Leadership and structure of the military was something he had come to love and chose to pursue in the United States Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Avery has lived all over the world and spent most of his military career in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army or directly supporting it. He served as Battalion Commander in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where he was responsible for organizational preparations for Wartime Readiness, Peacekeeping Missions, and National Level Emergency Response. After 20 years, he retired and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to begin his professional, civilian career with Bank of America (BOA) in global technology as a human resources consultant supporting executives with daily operations.

“I don’t believe I would be where I am today if I hadn’t enrolled at RMA at age 14 and walked into Delta Company. The motivation to learn, the self-discipline, and the leadership lessons are things I’ve taken with me throughout my personal and professional life. I’ll never forget my first time as a leader, realizing that I was responsible for caring for others – there is no better feeling. At RMA, I learned how to succeed."