First Captain Writes Memoir about Military School Experience

Feb 18, 2020

Cadet Skyler Chauff, the First Captain of the 136th Corps of Cadets at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (SJNMA) in Delafield, Wisconsin, has written the book The Path Up the Mountain: What Military School Did for Me.

“People often ask, ‘What did you do to end up in military school?’ said Chauff. “To make matters worse, once the mother of a dear friend refused to let her son see me because I went to a military school. These negative stereotypes motivated me to write the book and debunk the myths about the military school approach.”

In the role of 1CPT, Chauff is responsible for the internal administration, training, morale, and general efficiency of the entire student body, known as the Corps of Cadets, for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I hope to inspire readers through embarrassing tales, funny stories, and the resulting lessons during my years at military school. I’m hoping that my experiences will motivate readers to keep climbing towards the top of their mountains.”

During his five years at SJNMA, 1CPT Chauff has reached Dean’s List with Honors every quarter and is the recipient of numerous Best in Class awards. In addition to his academic and leadership achievements, Chauff is also the Silver Rifles drill team commander. He has competed on the Raider Challenge team for four years, led the Color Guard, and served nearly 1,000 hours of community service, primarily spent tutoring fellow cadets.

How did he find time to write a book? “My mother always says, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to,” said Chauff. “Near the end of my Sophomore year, I committed to writing 300 words a day.” The book took two years to complete. “Writing my story is a perfect example of one of the lessons I speak of in the book.”

1CPT Chauff recently received a Letter of Acceptance to the United States Military Academy at West Point. “I truly want to give all the credit to St. John’s Northwestern for making me who I am today,” said Chauff. “If I choose to attend West Point, The Path Up the Mountain may have a sequel.”

Chauff intends to donate the book’s proceeds to SJNMA. It is available for purchase, currently at a discounted price on