ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was treated to a visit by the Commandant of Cadets Carl Lloyd Jr. of the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy on Tuesday during its monthly luncheon.
Lloyd, a Bladen County native, explained how the school is set up and gave the audience some background about himself.
Lloyd has served as a lieutenant colonel in the N.C. State Defense Militia and the National Guard and is a graduate of N.C. A&T University and East Bladen High School.
He has worked in the past at Oak Ridge Military Academy, Millersburg Academy, St John's Northwest and St. John's Salina.
Lloyd talked about his past working at Oak Ridge Military Academy and how, a few years ago, the school almost closed its doors.
“The only time this school has ever closed was when the cadets marched off to fight for the South (during the Civil War),” said Lloyd.
He added that during the Vietnam war era, the school managed to make it.
Lloyd said that while administrators were determining what to do, he began to ponder his own future. He added that there is a difference between being a private school and a charter school.
“During this timeframe I began to research charter school laws in North Carolina,” said Lloyd.
He eventually took a job at another military academy but he said he continued to do research and learned that the everything you need in terms of guidelines are provided in the charter school laws in North Carolina.
“I reached out to the people in Elizabethtown and asked why not have a military charter school,” said Lloyd.
He explained that during the course of those conversations, the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy was born.
“When a young man or young woman goes to a military school, they learn to stand on their own two feet,” said Lloyd.
He said that cadets give up their cell phones when they enter the school. Lloyd said that he talks with students about the fact they can discuss with their parents what goes on in the classrooms but they also need to discuss thing with him as well.
Lloyd said he does not like learning about an incident that takes place in a classroom from a parent, but he instead expects the cadets to immediately report happenings to him first. At a military school cadets learn to make their own beds and how to shine their shoes properly. They learn how to make eye contact with people. While the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy is not a military boarding school, the cadets still learn similar behaviors and routines said Lloyd.
“If one of the cadets fails a class, they have Saturday study hall from 9 a.m. until noon,” said Lloyd. “I enjoy it when they realize they have to come on Saturday because they get to spend it with me.”
The school currently consists of sixth through 10th grades and, next year, they expect to add 11th grade and the following year add 12th grade. The enrollment currently consists of 92 students and seven cadets have been sent home since August for various reasons, said Lloyd.