Soon after the demise of Eastern University Preparatory School, Claremore’s high school moved into Preparatory Hall.
Then, in January of 1919, with World War I only over for a few months, newly elected Rogers County Representative H. Tom Kight introduced a bill that would establish a military academy on the Hill.
For the next couple of months, Kight’s bill made its way through the Oklahoma House and Senate, eventually getting to Governor J.B.A. Robinson’s desk, where he signed it into law on March 10.
Because of his efforts in getting the school established, as well as his support over the succeeding years, Kight is known as the Father of Oklahoma Military Academy.
But a man named Stephen M. Barrett was very important to OMA’s early days as well. The final president of EUPS, he became OMA’s first.
OMA’s initial group of students, called cadets, hit College Hill in the fall of 1919.
There were 30 of them, and since they were required to stay on campus, they huddled in tents throughout the fall and winter months until barracks could be built. By 1923, OMA was a six-year institution, offering four years of high school and two years of junior college.