News & Blogs

Tangents

At a "Policy Time" meeting earlier this morning the senior staff/administrators reviewed plans for the first Upper School leave weekend, Parents Weekend (17-18 October), VAIS accreditation, and discussed plans for cadets who find themselves with too many demerits too fast.  As we discussed one final issue regarding how staff members should respond when cadets use cell phones handed to them by parents (and girlfriends) when they visit campus, we went off on three different tangents.

One of those tangents was a discussion on the Dining Facility dress code, and what should be allowed given what seems like a general "dressing down" in America today.  After a few minutes of discussion, I ended our meeting by saying how blessed we were that the school year was going so well that we could take our valuable time and talk about dress codes and today's fashion trends.  While dress codes are important, we truly have been fortunate this year to have the time to discuss these details.

COL Todd Giszack was my "guest blogger" last week.  Betsy and I were away from school for two days celebrating my 60th birthday.  This is the first one I've celebrated since adulthood...it seemed special for some reason...beyond the senior discount at Regal Cinema.  I spent two full days in the mountains, hiking the Appalachian Trail to Mount Whitetop, riding my bike on the Creeper Trail, and taking long walks through and around Green Cove, VA, with a side trip to Virginia Tech...perhaps to feel 18 again.

I was also away for a few days with my duties as Chairman of the Virginia Council for Private Education Board of Directors.  This group represents those who accredit private schools throughout the Commonwealth, including the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, through which Fork Union is accredited. 

On Monday cadets took their First Term Semester Exams...signifying the term's half-way point...a few cadets smiled as I saw them and said "It is hard to believe that 10% of the school year is already behind us...time goes too fast doesn't it?"  Of course each replied with a hearty "Yes, sir!," but on certain days they must think time can't go by fast enough.

While it will be invisible to the casual user, we've been working to migrate our current website from a "one man show" managed by Dan Thompson, our Director of Communications, to Finalsite, which will give us the opportunity to decentralize all the updates and add additional functionality.  The site will have the same domain name: www.forkunion.com, but will look different, and be easier to keep current and personalize. Look for more information to come about some useful features of our new website that you will enjoy using, and look for the new site to go "live" sometime soon.

We've also been working with UnderArmour as we consider standardizing all our athletic uniforms and cadet athletic clothing.  I visited their headquarters in Baltimore two months ago, and meet with Kevin Plank '91.  In addition to creating and producing a world-class product, UnderArmour also includes motivation and a positive attitude...free with each purchase.

The UnderArmour workplace was energizing and exciting.  The visit caused me to recommit to my own fitness level and a few pieces of technology to help me along the way...a fitness tracker (Jawbone) and intelligent scale (Withings).  These tools have helped these last few months, along with a pair of UA Speedform Apollo shoes (please click the link to see the video) and some new gear.  We'll consider a few proposals and keep parents and alumni informed of our final decision.

Part of my interest, is that I believe the quality and appeal of UnderArmor means that cadets will wear the PT gear all summer...and long after they graduate.  Before I even arrived here I started planning for a day when every graduate would wear a Fork Union shirt.  Right now we are planning for that to occur on September 30, 2015.  This is the anniversary of our founding in 1898.  Please stand by for more detail...and get your shirts ready.

I've mentioned our new Campus Master Plan more than a few times, and look forward to the final presentation by Glavé & Holmes Architects at our Board of Trustees meeting in October.  Once the plan is approved, we will distribute details, and arrange a series of presentations that chart the exciting future for our campus facilities.

One of my favorite activities here, in addition to the Corps of Cadet reviews, is to attend Chapel services on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  I typically get there early, ahead of the cadets, and enjoy seeing the preparations, and the cadets quietly filing into their seats.  It is a way to gauge overall health, "morale," and fatigue.  I've already seen the positive impact of the additional time we've provided for sleep/study/reflection.  Today's message was particularly uplifting, as it focused on looking after those less fortunate.

The service started with a prayer by Cadet Lieutenant Bamisile:

Dear Heavenly Father, we look deep into your mighty word and see the glory of the new world you will create according to your justice and truth.  We thank you for giving us this joy on Earth in the midst of all our toil and striving.  Protect us and in Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Scripture tells us that it isn't enough to do good works.  We must also look after those who need our help.  We cannot ignore those less fortunate, or those who are being victimized in some way. 

Quoting first from the Book of Obadiah, Chaplain Benson segued to brief remarks from Cadet Lieutenant Brady, who addressed the Corps of Cadets about UNICEF's appeal to support the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  The Interact Club has chosen this as a project this year, and a company competition has begun to raise $1,500 to donate from Fork Union Military Academy.  I've enjoyed the increased cadet involvement in day-to-day school activities this year.

Our juniors, seniors, and postgraduates welcomed more than forty colleges at our annual college fair in Estes Athletic Center.  It was exciting to see so many colleges represented and hear the positive comments on the demeanor of our cadets, whose eyes gleamed with interest...yet clearly showed the weight of this important decision.  Well, enough tangents...I better get back to work...

Go FUMA!

Upper School Day Student Information for Sept 29 - Oct 5, 2014

Uniform Regulations - Week of September 29-October 5

 

Monday, September 29          Class B Summer        Bring Class A Winter  Uniform* for pictures

Tuesday, September 30           Class B Summer

Wednesday, October 1            BDU Uniform

Thursday, October 2                Class B Summer

Friday, October 3 **                Class B Summer (for leave weekend) 

Saturday, October 4                 No Corps Activities requiring Day Students to attend

Sunday, October 5                   No Corps Activities requiring Day Students to attend

 

* Class  A Winter Uniform is Long-Sleeve White Shirt, Gray trousers, Black tie, Blouse/Jacket with crest, cross rifles on lapels and nametag on right side, and Service Hat. 

** Friday, October 3 – Day student cadets, not on ED, will be released after class at 12:30 pm on Friday, October 3 as this is a leave weekend.  For athletes, your coach will determine your practice schedule that day.

 

Upcoming Important Dates

 

Monday, September 29 –   Picture Day!  Yearbook and Athletic Teams photos will be taken. 

Uniform Required – Class A Winter (long-sleeve white shirt)

If a cadet doesn’t have a Blouse/Jacket, various sizes will be available at the picture site.

Fork Union Alumni on Current NFL Rosters

Fork Union Military Academy has a number of teams in the National Football League (NFL) for which to root, as our alumni are on many NFL rosters. This year, the following seventeen former Blue Devils are on NFL teams:

Upper School Day Student Information September 22-28, 2014

  

** There will be OPEN SWIM for all cadets in the Estes Athletic Center Pool on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, from 1400-1600.  Day students are invited to participate in the OPEN SWIM.

 

Unform regulations - week of september 22-28

 

Monday, September 22             BDU Uniform

Tuesday, September 23            Class B Summer

Wednesday, September 24      BDU Uniform

Thursday, September 25          Class B Summer

Friday, September 26               BDU Uniform

Saturday, September 27           No Corps Activities requiring Day Students to attend

Sunday, September 28             No Corps Activities requiring Day Students to attend

 

 

UPCOMING IMPORTANT DATES

 

Monday, September 22 –    Term 1 semester exam

 

Thursday, September 25 – college fair in the Estes athletic center (for juniors and seniors).

Over 60 colleges and universities, both in-state and out-of-state, will be in attendance.

 

Monday, September 29 –   Picture day!  Yearbook and athletic teams photos will be taken.  Uniform required – class a winter (long-sleeve white shirt)

 

All blouse/jackets have not been issued, but various sizes will be available the picture site.

 

Athletic teams photos will be taken in the team uniform issued by the  Athletic Department.

A Perpetual State of Improvement

By COL Todd Giszack, Academic Dean

Last summer we had the opportunity to clean up some classroom and lab spaces in Wicker Science Hall, where Cadets have been dissecting frogs and memorizing the Periodic Table since 1971.  In the process we came across some outdated equipment and old textbooks obviously years past their shelf life.  In fact, some of the Cadets who used that equipment and studied from those textbooks are now approaching retirement age themselves.  And so it goes in education. 

Like our equipment and textbooks, our programs and processes have to remain fresh, and able to prepare our graduates for the world that awaits them.  Fork Union Military Academy possesses a set of bedrock principles that define us.  We have always been and will remain a college preparatory, Christian, military boarding school for boys.  This is why alumni from generations ago still recognize their alma mater, as much of what they experienced here remains unchanged. 

But as an independent school in a competitive educational marketplace, we must remain in what I call a perpetual state of improvement.  This is good for our Cadets, and it is good for our school vitality.  Some improvements can occur quickly and without fanfare while others require strategy, and take time to implement.  Each must make us better, each must complement the existing programs found here, and each must meet the expectations of the families that entrust their sons to FUMA each year.  What follows is a sampling of recent additions to this set of "value propositions", the very things that make Fork Union Military Academy the beacon that it is.

SAT & ACT PREP CLASS DEADLINES HAVE PASSED

Sorry parents but the deadlines for signing your son up for these two classes have passed.

We sent out letters and made post on the website to remind you of the deadlines.  The classes have already started so please do not call wanting to sign your son up and give us credit card info to try and do so.  We put deadlines on things like this so we know how many books to order and for our planning purposes

We will offer the classes again in the spring for the Juniors to take and again letters will be sent out, so make sure we have your current address and please look at the website.

In case a lot of you did not know - there is a lot of helpful information on our website about alot of the questions that are frequently asked by parents so please take a moment and visit our website.