Academy Changes Name to Attract Wider Range of Students

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

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WOODSTOCK, Va.-- An academy in Woodstock changed its name in an effort to showcase all it has to offer.

Massanutten Military Academy is now Massanutten Academy.

The Board of Trustees made the decision in October.

"We have drill after classes and we have formation before we go to mess, which is meals," said Weiouqing Chen, the public relations officer.

But the academy didn't start out with the word 'military' in its name.

"How will we remain a school for the next 114 years, how do we want to go forward? And part of that included taking a look backward," said Sara-Jane Trier, the enrollment manager and marketing director.

The school added the word "military" to its name in 1984.

"We're a school first," said Henkel.

"In 1917, when we brought military traditions here, why did we do that? And it was to offer kids the opportunity to become organized, have a structured day, learn to prioritize, learn good manners," said Trier.

These traditions will remain the same.

Merle Henkel, head of the school, hopes the name change will help showcase other programs including academics or music.

"The opportunity to talk to people who might not have been looking for that, to start with that might read about us as Massanutten Academy and all the things we have to offer. Sure, I think it opens up new audiences," said Henkel.

Decisions which students say don't affect their overall experience.

"Everybody was talking about it for a while, but after all, because there's really nothing that changed about our lives, it's only the name," said Chen, "We have a clear goal and we're going to achieve it."

That goal is to have a successful high school experience.

"A place for kids to come and graduate from high school to go on to the next step in their life whether it's college, whether it's service, whether it's the workforce," said Henkel.

Massanutten Academy is also looking at a summer program or expanding a day program.

They originally had a significant number of local students attending the school, but now they just have boarding students.

They're also considering expanding dual enrollment programs with colleges. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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