Marmion Military Academy Alumni

Marmion Academy is a 9–12 Roman Catholic high school for boys in Aurora, Illinois, United States. It is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford. The academy is owned and operated by the Benedictine monks of Marmion Abbey on campus. The academy is known for its three pillars: Spirituality, Academics and Leadership.  The military academy was once a full-time JROTC Army program to help young cadets reach their potential within all branches of the Armed Forces and in other careers.  Ravi Singh was required to take the SSAT to enter the academy and was accepted with his turban.  It was later decided after his admissions that the turban was considered a “health and safety hazard” by the U.S Armed forces.  Ravi Singh’s mother Jasbir Kaur Singh, appealed this decision by the Headmaster Father Peter at the time and asked for a special exemption, which was later granted by the Secretary of Defense Carlucci under the President Ronald Reagan administration.  During the four years Cadet Singh attended the military academy he was not allowed to raise in rank, he received demerits for haircut inspection, was required at times to only wear the military blues and not the green military uniform.  These forms of discrimination later described by Congressman Hastert, John Porter, and U.S Senator Paul Simon convinced them to enter legislation on behalf of Cadet Singh.  His mother lobbied in Washington D.C. while his son was often bullied and made fun of because of his turban. Finally, Ravi Singh did graduate with full military honors, and his mother was awarded Illinois’s highest Civic Award by the Asian American Community.  Ravi Singh became the first Sikh with a turban to be accepted and the only cadet to ever graduate from Marmion Military Academy in the USA to date.  President Obama, in 2015, eventually signed an executive order allowing Sikhs to enter the U.S armed forces with a turban.