I spent only one school year at SJMS as an eighth grader from 1978-79. I joined the school in mid-October so many photos of groups and clubs [for the 1979 yearbook] were already taken. I am pictured on pages 66, 67, and 81 though I did participate in lower-school football, track, and band.
It was a growing time for me as were most boys in my age group: (and still are) changing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. I was exposed to being away from home for the first time and placed in an environment akin to boot camp that lasted approximately eight months. By the time I left the school in 1979, I had undergone many changes and the experiences at SJMS impacted me for years to come.
I developed a great sense of discipline, emotional maturity, self-control, increased strength, and an appreciation for the idea that not everybody receives an award even though their best effort was put forward. Perhaps if more people appreciated the latter, a significant portion of our country would not be looking for government handouts and realize that everyone is afforded the same opportunities but not the same results.
After spending the winter in flat lands of Kansas, I was sure the Army was not on my list of future careers. I was keen on the discipline and concept of the military and as such, I ultimately decided to join the US Navy in 1987 as an enlisted man. I was eventually accepted into the Navy’s Officer Candidate School (Pensacola, FL) and received my commission in 1995. I spent a total of 26 years in the Navy both as a Sailor and an Engineering Officer. I retired as a Commander in 2014 and now reside in Jacksonville. In closing, I hope your museum can make use of this yearbook. I appreciate the impact of SJMS on me as a developing young man. —Mark Kahler 1979