The Staunton Military Academy (SMA) was founded by William H. Kable in Staunton, VA in 1884. It went by the name “The Staunton Male Academy” for 4 years until Kable adopted a military format starting with the 1888-89 session. It was renamed “The Staunton Military Academy” at that time. SMA continued in operation at the same location for 92 sessions and closed its doors in Staunton in June 1976. SMA reopened in Hampton, Virginia, in September 1977 for one session and closed for the final time as a full time educational institution in June 1978. A summer program was run by the SMA Alumni Association for three summers starting in 1989.
Approximately 19,000 cadets passed through the portals of SMA with almost 7,500 receiving diplomas. The smallest number of students was in the 1899-1900 session with 15 cadets in the Corps. The largest number of cadets was during the 1966-67 session with 665 cadets in the Corps. The largest graduating class was the class of 1964 with 200 cadets receiving diplomas. The smallest number of seniors was in 1900 with 3 cadets receiving diplomas. The first diploma was awarded to Cadet Browning in 1890. The last diploma was awarded to Cadet Shawn Webb in 1976.
The entire story of the Staunton Military Academy told in the following pages is the journey through one man’s dream of what the education of young men should be, with that dream being continued after his death to the end by others who took up the banner and marched to the drumbeat defined by William H. Kable.