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MMI will phase out high school

The college at Marion Military Institute is officially a public two-year college. Which may be good for higher learners, but the change will take its toll on the high school cadets.

After the members of the graduating class of 2009 receive their diplomas, there won’t be another MMI high school class.

“I think my biggest fear is that we can’t recruit any new students,” MMI president Col. Jim Benson said, “and that can manifest a situation in itself because our numbers could decrease drastically.”

With a decrease in numbers, comes a decrease in athletes, which Benson said could lead to a “questionable or problematic” situation.

“We will be challenged to fill our athletic teams, but we are going to try to keep it going for three more years. We have a committee that has started to look at options to keep it together,” Benson said about his division 1A sports program. “I am particularly worried about the basketball and football programs, but I plan on having dialogue with the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) to see what can be done there. Even though the high school will be publicly funded, its numbers are so small, so I think they’ll be able to work with us there.”

Although Benson is unsure about the campus atmosphere after the school’s younger students leave, he knows it’ll be different.

“I don’t know how the campus will change,” he said. “But the high school students bring something to campus and they aren’t a burden. Our college students were role models for them and they were sort of leaders to our college students as well.”