A Celebration of Heritage

By Johanna Merwin
Monday, June 13, 2011

SCMA Commemorated with Plaque by Alumni and Friends

 SCMA Plaque DedicationPictured (L to R): Geoff Hurte ’87, Debbie Fowler Hess ’70, Andrea Fowler Halberg, Ron Hurte ’75

 On May 21, 2011, the Southern California Military Academy (SCMA) alumni and families gathered in Signal Hill, California to dedicate a bronze plaque in honor of the academy’s cadets, cadre, and staff who served the community in peace and the nation in war.

The plaque was mounted on a concrete pedestal in the southeast corner of the Alvarado Elementary School. According to the Signal Tribune, the Long Beach Unified School District donated a Goldenrain tree to be planted next to the plaque.

SCMA alumni, Kirk Schenewark, stated in the Signal Tribune on May 20, 2011, “I think the community will appreciate the remembrance of the once great military academy that prepped boys for leadership in serving our country and civilian community.”

The academy was established in Signal Hill, California, in 1924. Through the years, SCMA became an icon of national pride and character for the community. The military academy boarded and taught kindergarten through 9th grade boys.

In 1947 John Brown Sr., purchased SCMA making it a member of the John Brown Schools Foundation.  It was a Christian military school until 1979 when John Brown sold it to a group of the academy’s administrators, faculty and staff. The academy was managed by the Hurte family until it was closed in 1987.

JBU Alumni, Deborah Hess ’70 (pictured) stated in her address at the dedication, “This place has always been hallowed ground to me and it is, now, even more so, with the placement of this plaque.”

The dedication ceremony was a time for old SCMA affiliates to reminisce and reconnect. Schenewark felt that the dedication was a great chance to get together and honor those who loved and worked to the benefit of SCMA.