MMA History

Paul Williams, founded the academy in 1931 in Homewood. He moved the school to Wheaton in 1938 and five years later moved the academy into a Victorian house once owned by industrialist Alfred D. Plamondon.

For almost half a century, the academy existed in relative obscurity in a quiet neighborhood on the south side of Wheaton. About the only time most Wheaton residents saw the cadet corps was during the annual Memorial Day parade to a nearby cemetery.

The cadets, many of them shorter than a musket, wore uniforms and marched in formation whenever they moved around campus. They lived in a dormitory during the week and went home on weekends.

Cadets lived under a strict merit system that rewarded high grades, sports participation and neatly kept rooms. The emphasis on order and discipline was not based on sentiment. The academy's motto was "The making of a cadet is the making of a man," and many of the boys were sent there because they had trouble in the less structured atmosphere of public schools.

"There`s a lack of discipline in the public schools," Williams said in an interview last week. "Boys probably need a little more discipline."

Parents applauded the tough disciplinary code, which included paddlings and detentions of cadets who did not do their homework each night or who tried to run away from school. "It certainly helped to make him a young man," said Rosalind Simmons of Hyde Park, tapping the slim shoulder of her 10-year-old son, Max. "He has order, respect and dignity. That's important."

From Chicago Tribune June 03, 1986 |By Andrew Bagnato.