The well-known educator J. Floyd Collins contacted Dr. Bob Sr. and offered his services to develop the precollege program—which at the time was considered the Preparatory Department.
It may also be Collins’s experience that inspired the Preparatory Department to become a military school. During his tenure as the first principal and in the years following, Collins was responsible for the discipline of the military school cadets.
During the Florida years there were two types of students in the Bob Jones College Preparatory Department—cadets and non-cadets. The military school cadets wore uniforms, were under strict discipline and physical training, and kept a tight schedule. The non-cadets (young women and some young men) attended the same classes but were not part of the discipline or schedule (Academy Archives—AA).
Except for academic records, the earliest records of the Academy involve the cadets. In the school’s archives are faded carbon copies of sheets presumably posted on bulletin boards. One sheet deals with specific cadet responsibilities. The “Care of Quarters” portion deals with each cadet “making his own bunk”; cleaning, sweeping, dusting, and arranging the room”; “during inspection of quarters each cadet must stand at attention by his bed”; “any cadet seen throwing paper or trash on the floor or ground will be punished”; and “keep out of the flower beds” (AA).
In the “Care of Person” section, cadets were informed that they must “keep uniforms brushed and pressed … shoes polished, belts and buckles shined, and hair combed” and that a “clean white collar must show above uniform collar.”
The second sheet deals with the cadet’s schedule and penalties. The schedule covers a 16-hour day, starting at 5:30 a.m. with breakfast an hour later, five hours of morning classes (from about 7 a.m. until noon), an hour and a half study hall each evening, and taps at 9:15. The penalties listed include direct disobedience—3 hours; disrespect of authority, unexcused absence, and disorder—2 hours; unexcused tardiness, bed not properly made, dirty room, and carelessness in drill (out of step, not looking to the front, etc.)—1 hour. Penalty hours were to be spent on guard duty. All hours had to be worked off before a cadet could have free time or leave the campus on Saturday (AA).
Cadets wore uniforms primarily for dress occasions while other male students wore coats and ties. Some people remember the cadets in uniform marching from their dorm to dinner.
(Pinkston, W.S. (2016). A History of Bob Jones Academy.)
Much has changed at BJA since the early military academy days, but these precepts are echoed by our teachers today as they challenge, encourage, and help students to give their best to the Lord.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
Turner, D.L (2002). Standing Without Apology. Greenville, SC: BJU Press.