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Our Success Stories

Hear what Parents and Students say about VF


I graduated VFMA class of ’09. I attended the academy for four years of high school in order to aid in my pursuit of a military career. I graduated as Company Commander of Charlie Company. During my time there I had the fortunate opportunity to work with yourself and your Naval Academy Prep Program in order to prepare myself for a military career. Your mentorship and leadership made me only want to serve with the very best service men and women this country has to offer. You aided me in the process of applying and interviewing for the Marine NROTC program. I attended Drexel University on full scholarship from the NROTC and graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. I was a midshipmen in the NROTC program at UPenn from 2009-2014 under Col Wilcox, where you came and spoke at our Spring Graduation Ceremony. I commissioned in the Marine Corps as a 2ndLt in May of 2014. I cannot thank you enough for your mentorship as a cadet at VFMA. I have been extremely pleased with my decision, thanks to you, to earn a Commission in the Marine Corps. I love working with Marines every day and could not ask for a better start to a career.

My time at Valley Forge was instrumental in my development as a leader and I would not be where I am at today had it not been for the opportunities afforded to me while at the Academy.

Very Respectfully,
1stLt Robert M. McCollum III, USMC


As the parent of a recently graduated 5 year Cadet, Niall Gallagher, Class of 2015, I would honestly say he would not be a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, Class of 2019, without the life lessons learned at VFMAC. Valley Forge gave him the tools to achieve his own individual success. He was able to play in the Regimental Band all over the country and even England, was able to excel at athletics, study abroad at the Duke of York Royal Military School, rise to the rank of Battalion Commander and get elected to Student Council President during his years at VF.

My son always tells me, Valley Forge didn’t hand him success, but gave him the tools and self-confidence to achieve it.

Thank you Valley Forge for making him into the student leader, thoughtful and compassionate person and future Marine Corps Officer he is today.

Chris Gallagher, father of
Cadet Niall Gallagher ’15


“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran

It was these very words that gave me the courage to send my son, at the age of 14 on his heroes journey, he was desperately in need of a huge change; a middle child with an amazing imagination; unaware of his own brilliance; a late bloomer; he was caught up and failing terribly in an education system where one size was supposed to fit all, in a nutshell my son was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At home I would watch him come alive in the world of video games, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars basically anything that allowed him to honor his authentic self. When it came to school, I was constantly having to micromanage my son, I was exhausted, he was not vested in his own future, I needed a miracle.

That Miracle was Valley Forge Military Academy!

The agreement that I had made with my son was that he would go to Valley Forge for one year and then return to our local high school; one week was all it took for him to say, “Mom, I don’t know how you knew me better than I knew myself, but I’m not coming back. I would love to graduate from Valley Forge.” Like a waterfall, tears cascaded as I was filled with joy and gratitude that my son had come alive!! What was to follow was a huge year of transformation in my amazing son. As a boy he journeyed through the Plebe, and wrote to me the most tear jerking letters where he bestowed accolades that were filled with wisdom beyond his tender years. In his first year at Valley Forge the metamorphosis covered every aspect of his life from academics, music, activities, leadership, friendship, camaraderie, etc. I loved watching how the structured environment at Valley Forge encouraged my son to take complete responsibility of himself, to discover and connect with his true self and listen to, and trust his own inner voice. My son was slowly blossoming not only emotionally, but also physically into a fine young man. A mothers sacrifice of sending her son to Valley Forge had truly become a life long gift to him. My prayers had been answered, Valley Forge Military Academy had become his second home, and a place where he was, in his words “Living the Dream”.

Kuldib Rao, mother of
Cadet Rakshan Rao

Our son Joseph Ingrao attend[ed] his high school years (9-12) at VFMA, and graduated Class President on June 4, 2011. Joseph, then continued his education at The University of Massachusetts Amherst, and graduated this past May, with a Bachelors degree in Construction Engineering. We are extremely proud of our son, and attribute many of his successes to the outstanding education, and lessons learned through the Military environment VFMA offered. This is an experience very few will ever have, and it was the best decision we ever made! Integrity, courage, valor, teamwork, and honor…..Thank you VF!!!

Laurie & Sal Ingrao August 13, 2015

One of the most important decisions that a young person can make is to decide on a school that best fits the needs that will shape their future. Our son did just that, he dreamed big and pursued being accepted as a cadet at Valley Forge Military Academy. His dream came true. He has succeeded tremendously. As a new cadet coming into the Academy for his freshman year of school, he has truly thrived in a highly academically challenging, disciplinary environment. He reported to school in early August as young kid and has now turned into a tremendous leader both academically and spiritually. He loves the environment and the camaraderie that he has with his brothers at the Academy. During the Plebe period, he grew to respect, appreciate and count on his brothers to help him through anything that he may encounter. A deep bond between these wonderful, young intelligent men will never be broken.

Being part of soccer, swimming and lacrosse has shaped him into a well-rounded individual. His gold star performance in academics has given him the confidence to know that he can succeed at anything. He has been fortunate to be exposed to many different students from different countries and backgrounds. This has made him diverse and accepting of all individuals and tolerant of people from different cultures. My son’s story is a real story of someone who was so passionate about what he wanted that he researched, prepared and went after a dream that only he could make come true. His dream to be part of the 84 Corp of Cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy will set him apart and prepare him for the brightest future that even he could never dream could be possible. Valley Forge Military Academy does make dreams come true.

Nancy & Bill Minich
Parents of Cadet Christian Minich ’15

The initial impression we had of the Forge’s influence on our cadet was his appearance. His physique had leaned out; his posture was erect and the broadened shoulders offered an indication of the added strength and agility he had acquired in his six week transition.

Our cadet’s confidence was demonstrated in the direct eye contact made when speaking with adults, and peppering his responses with “Sir” and “Ma’am” brought a smile of admiration to our faces. He was clearly more centered and self-assured. We had sent away an average teenager, challenged with trying to establish his identity and understand his place in the world. In welcoming our cadet back home, we saw a young man who understood that his identity was a reflection of the principles he chose to live by. We’ve seen the proof of The Forge’s mental and physical effect, and are very proud of our cadet.

Sandy & Denise Saddler
Parents of Cadet Sandy B. Saddler ’16

I was a Sponsored Prepster at Valley Forge Military College last year. I just wanted to thank you for an incredibly helpful school year last year. The prepster program prepared me so well for both academics and a military lifestyle, and I have experienced much success at West Point so far…while maintaining my membership and commitment to the Army Women’s Lacrosse Team.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have spent a prep year at Valley Forge. My teachers, including Professor Satlof, Professor Zegarski, Professor Catagnus, and Dr. Basu, prepared me so well for the four years I will spend at West Point as well as for my future career as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. The prepster program, in my opinion, is extremely well designed to prepare Valley Forge cadets for their experiences at service academies.

Very Respectfully,
Cadet Kiersten Spencer
United States Military Academy
Completed the VFMC Service Academy Preparatory Program May 2014

While at Valley Forge, the training and the Cadre were second to none. Although a small community, the one at Valley Forge is tight knit and the comrades you make while there will be your ‘Battles’ for life. I am currently down at Fort Benning, GA attending IBOLC with two good friends of mine whom I commissioned with two and a half years ago (LT. Sexton and LT. FRY). I would highly recommend Valley Forge to anyone who were looking to get a leg in the door towards a great career.

LT Patrick Fineran ’09C
Graduated VFMAC in May of 09′ with a Commission in the Ohio Army National Guard.

We are writing to express our heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Valley Forge. Our son is graduating in three weeks. It is hard to believe that just two years ago on a very hot August day we left him after in-processing wondering if he would survive plebe training and receive his cap shield. So much has transpired since then. We left a son barely 18, just three months out of high school. Much time past between his visits home but with each one we were amazed at the growth and maturity that had taken place. He was taller, stronger, and more self-confident and was embracing the mission of the college.

He is now a leader in the regimental band as the 1st Lt. One Sunday as the band lead the Corps onto the parade field and his name was announced we had a sense of pride and accomplishment that left a teary eye. We had just left the chapel service with all its pomp and circumstance that leaves one with a sense of pride in being an American. The sun was shining and the campus was bathed in its spring glory. The Sunday chapel speaker had inspired us all and we noticed that our son wanted to keep his own copy of the bulletin. We are grateful that there is an institution that values those things we as parents tried to instill in our children.

We are deeply indebted to many people at The Forge but especially Bandmaster WO2 Phil Evans; Master Sergeant Gillyard and the Tac Officers of the band; Dr. W. Best, advisor; Lini Stevens, Director of Parent Relations and all of the wonderful teachers our son had. It is very apparent that Valley Forge has high expectations for its cadets, not only academically but morally as it enforces character development, personal motivation, leadership and physical development-the five capstones. Most importantly we were impressed that above all, personal responsibility is demanded every day. What better attribute can our young cadets take with them as they leave and go into the work force, the military, or to four-year institutions.

We will miss our trips to Valley Forge but leave knowing that our son and we chose the finest school to spend the first two years of college. We are proud of what he accomplished, how far he came from that hot August day, and know that he will look back years from now and say that he is proud to be an alumnus of Valley Forge.

Dr. and Mrs. Jose Hernandez
Parents of 1st Lt. Joseph Hernandez, Band

Today [March 24] is our son [First Captain] Kevin’s 20th birthday and we wanted to express to everyone at VF how grateful we are to all the wonderful people at VF who have taught, mentored, raised, and influenced Kevin these past six years.

We sent him to Valley Forge a good boy of 14 and today he is a fine and excellent man of 20 years that has honor and the best character.

Words cannot express how proud we are of our son, and how grateful we are to Valley Forge.

Please forward this email to the BOT and all your staff because they have all had a part in contributing to the education of our son these past six years and we want them all to know how truly grateful we are and we wish them all to know that the best efforts of the employees at VF do work!

Our son is living proof that when a cadet chooses to follow the guidance of the principles of VF, a good boy/young man will always become an excellent leader with honor and courage of conviction to always do the right thing.

Thank you all for your dedication to the cadets of Valley Forge. The work you all do is important and much appreciated.

Marty and Tess Lanum, and Larry Fulmer
Parents of First Captain Kevin J. Fulmer ’08C