Marion Military Institute's final 10 seniors

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Marc Turner will always remember his high school graduation on Saturday, not because graduation marks a milestone, but also there is no class coming up behind him, no class of 2010.

"It's going to be a great missed opportunity for those who won't experience what I've experienced," said cadet Turner.

It's all part of the deal Marion Military Institute struck with the state's two-year college system 3 years ago. By giving up control to the state, that means more money from the Alabama legislature and a better job of maintenance, something school officials say had fallen behind. Once private, now public.

Silencing the high school does not quiet the college. The junior college is still here and it will retain its military component, continuing as America's oldest military junior college. Rich in history, the institute churned out more than 200 Admirals and Generals.

David Ivey takes consolation in that legacy considering he was initially angry when the high school had to be phased out. Now there is acceptance which took some time.

"I understand it from a financial point of view but I still don't like it," Ivey said with a chuckle.

Ivey graduated from the high school in 1988 and later coached football and baseball for the school. He now teaches Psychology in the junior college.

Since the two-year college system has taken over, funding to Marion Military Institute has gone from around $500,000 a year to about 8 million dollars a year.

To make graduation even more memorable, the senior class plans to raise a special flag, an American flag at the pole.

"I wouldn't trade anything for the experience I got here," said Turner.

Marc Turner is one of only 10 seniors who make up the final graduating class, a 122-year tradition gone with the winds of change.

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