Trump says this private boarding school gave him more military training than the Army could — take a look

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Mike Groll/AP

Before he became a billionaire real estate developer, reality TV star, and president-elect, Donald Trump was a cadet who attended the New York Military Academy.

Founded in 1889, the private school is spread across 120 acres in rural Cornwall, New York, located 60 miles north of Manhattan. The cost of tuition is $41,210 a year at the school, which ranks No. 128 on a list of the best boarding schools in the US by education resource Niche.

The story goes that Trump’s parents shipped their 13-year-old son off to NYMA when he began acting up and it became a problem. Some 50 years later, Trump would tell his biographer that his five years’ education there gave him more military training than the military could.

Here’s what it’s like at NYMA.


The New York Military Academy opened doors in 1889 with the hopes of preparing cadets for “further education and to be effective leaders and responsible citizens.”

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Donald Trump, pictured 11th from right in the bottom row, stands with the rest of his class outside the entrance of New York Military Academy.
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Classmates.

Source: New York Military Academy


Charles Jefferson Wright, a Civil War veteran and teacher, founded the school under the belief that a military structure provided the best environment for academic achievement.

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Donald Trump, pictured second from left, looks like one classy guy in his military attire.
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Classmates.

Source: New York Military Academy


Through the years, the student body has remained small. Two classroom buildings and three dorms accommodate the 28 students who enrolled in the 2016-17 academic year.

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Donald Trump, pictured fourth from left in the bottom row, was a captain on the school’s varsity baseball team.
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Classmates

Source: New York Military Academy and Wall Street Journal


The school’s alumni include composer Stephen Sondheim, director Francis Ford Coppola, and, of course, President-elect Donald Trump, a class of 1964 graduate.

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Donald Trump was voted “Ladies Man” of his class in the 1964 yearbook.
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Classmates

Trump rose to captain, tasked with presiding over NYMA’s most prestigious company of cadets. Former roommates and instructors say he thrived under the school’s rigidity.

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Donald Trump, pictured third from right in the bottom row, played varsity soccer.
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Classmates.

Source: The Washington Post and NPR


However, he was later removed from his post for allegedly looking the other way when the older students hazed the underclassmen, according to some former classmates.

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Donald Trump, pictured center, stands with an intramural basketball team.
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Classmates

Source: The Washington Post


Unlike the United States Military Academy West Point or the United States Naval Academy, which require military service after graduation, NYMA has no obligation.

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Mike Groll/AP

In his biography, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success,” Trump told the author that he “always felt that I was in the military” because of his education at NYMA.

Trump sat out the Vietnam War because of determents and a high draft lottery number.

According to NYMA’s website, 97% of students go on to work in the private sector.


Cadets wear uniforms, learn drills, and sleep in “barracks.”

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: Wall Street Journal


Fletcher Bailey, an instructor and a master sergeant in the military, told WSJ the training aims to instill “discipline, attention to detail, and moving in an orderly fashion.”

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: Wall Street Journal


Male cadets are strictly forbidden from entering the women’s housing, and vice versa. Students also aren’t allowed to leave base without permission from the commandant.

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: Cadet Manual


Students stand at attention as they wait to be served lunch in the mess hall.

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Mike Groll/AP

According to a sample menu posted to NYMA’s website, a typical day might include a hearty breakfast of waffles; sausage patties, and fresh fruit; beef burgers and steak fries for lunch; and sweet and sour chicken with a side of veggie fried rice and green beans for dinner.


The curriculum involves English, math, history, science, world languages, fine arts, and technology. Classes are small, so that instructors can provide individualized attention.

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: New York Military Academy


With enrollment numbers dwindling since the 1960s, the school has struggled financially. It filed for bankruptcy in March 2015 when its debts neared $12 million.

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: Wall Street Journal


Some buildings, namely the dormitories, are in need of massive repairs. Quartz called the facilities “dilapidated.”

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: The New York Times and Quartz


Administrators asked their wealthiest living alum, Trump, to make a $7 million donation to ease its money troubles back in 2011. Trump reportedly declined.

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: The New York Times


(He did, however, donate a classroom in honor of his parents some years ago.)

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Mike Groll/AP

In September, a nonprofit conservation group owned by Chinese real estate mogul Vincent Tianquan Mo bought the military academy for $16 million at an auction.

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Mike Groll/AP

Source: The New York Times


For the first time in decades, things are looking up at NYMA.

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Mike Groll/AP