I have only a few moments between meetings to provide an update on this last week. Betsy and I are in Charlottesville, VA attending a "Planning Retreat" with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The committee members spent the day discussing our draft strategic plan, which will be voted on by the full Board in May. There is general consensus that we are on the right path, and there was full support for the planning process and results.
Last weekend we hosted the three finalists (future ninth graders) for our Board of Trustees Scholarship. While it was difficult to narrow the applicants to three, it was even more difficult to select only one from this group. We will notify the merit scholarship recipient very soon, and are prayerful that all those who applied will attend Fork Union Military Academy. We will look hard for the support necessary to make this possible.
On Saturday we also hosted an orienteering meet...with many visitors running through the rain and snow to finish courses ranging from easy to difficult. Our cadets were excellent hosts, and LTC Carl Muench and LTC Ed Moore had the event well organized. That same afternoon our baseball team helped the local Little League with their annual try outs...the indoor track team won a Virginia Prep League Championship, the swimming team became Virginia Independent School State Champions...and the chess team won the Longwood University Chess Open.
On Sunday, the cadet choir and praise band, led by CWO Bruce Patterson performed at the Berea Baptist Church in Rockville, VA (just outside Richmond). They left the congregation with a very positive impression and made me very proud to be there watching. Betsy was excited to be back in the Church where her grandparents had worshiped almost 50 years before.
I spent much of the week making final arrangements for this planning session...and may have worried more if Chaplain Benson's message hadn't focused on how God will meet all our needs. It was an inspired (and well organized) message on the futility of worry...and the importance of trusting God. Some might say: "Don't worry about tomorrow, today has enough problems of its own."
One of my favorite verses...one I have memorized...is from Phillipians 4:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds..."
I also took a bit of time to recommend one of our cadets, Cadet Carmine, for the United States Coast Guard Academy's AIM Program. AIM is the Academy Introduction Mission, and allows high school rising seniors to have a first-hand look at the life of a new cadet at USCGA. My hope is that we can continue a pipeline of cadets attending Service Academies.
Well, I better get back to preparing tomorrow's meeting summary, the presentation of the Endowment and Investment Subcommittee report, and the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year. Today's discussions helped pave the way for our bright future. While it has taken much effort to arrive at this point (just like the successes listed earlier in this post) we are better for the journey.
Since I am writing this from Charlottesville. and we were visited this evening by a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson, I thought it fitting to end with a quote from this man who cared so deeply about learning and education:
"Nothing can stop a man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude"
Happy 2nd Birthday James Scott Burhoe.