News & Events

SBELA Postponed

The Gainesville Times- Conner Evans
RMA Postpones Scholarship Fundraiser Amid COVID Concerns.
Riverside Military Academy will postpone its Sandy Beaver Entrepreneurial Leadership Award dinner scheduled for Thursday Aug. 12 on the Riverside Military Academy campus, because of concerns regarding rising COVID-19 case numbers in the area. 

The academy will seek a spring semester makeup date for the dinner, according to a statement from the academy’s president, Col. Stas Preczewski.

“The decision is predicated upon our pledge to our students, their parents, and our faculty and staff to do all we can to protect their health and safety,” Preczewski wrote. “We are also mindful of the health of the many guests who planned to attend.  It was simply the right decision.”

The annual awards dinner supports the Riverside Military Academy Foundation, which provides scholarship support for students and their families with demonstrated need. The postponement will not affect the scholarships for this year, said Ellen DeFoor, the academy’s vice president for advancement. 
The dinner was not held last year, because of similar COVID-19 concerns, but the academy still sent out a fundraising appeal, DeFoor said. They gave out $250,000 in partial scholarships for 53 incoming cadets in 2020, she said, and those scholarships average between $2,500 and $5,000. In a typical year, the dinner raises between $40,000 to $50,000 for the foundation, she said. 

Tuition at the academy costs $44,584 for U.S. boarding cadets, $25,478 day cadets and $51,504 for international cadets. 

The dinner will honor Carol Burrell, CEO of the Northeast Georgia Health System. 

“The award honors area entrepreneurs whose business acumen and leadership are reminiscent of that of Sandy Beaver, RMA president from 1913 to 1969,” according to a press release from the academy. Burrell will be the first woman to be honored with the award. 

Though Hall County’s vaccination numbers are low, more than 85% of the academy’s faculty and staff are vaccinated, DeFoor said.

“We’re trying to create a safe and healthy environment, because we’ve got boys that come here from all over the world and all over the country,” DeFoor said. “We’ve really got to try to provide an environment for them that is virus-free so that we can maintain the in person classroom instruction.”

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