News & Blogs

MIddle School Final Week Schedule

MAY

9-11 Free Leave - Mothers’ Day Weekend (All boarding cadets need to be in the Barracks by 1 p.m. on the 11th to prepare for the Mothers’ Day Parade.  Day student parents should arrive no later than 1:45 p.m.  The parade will commence at 2:30 p.m.  Leaves can resume following the parade, and day passes will be permitted after the parade.  Return time for both will be at 9 p.m.)

17 Saturday classes (Overnight passes will be granted for “Excellent Conduct” cadets only; Day passes will be permitted for all.)

18 Final full-dress parade (All cadets need to be in the Barracks by 1 p.m. to prepare for the parade, which will commence at 2:30 p.m. Day students should arrive by 1:45 p.m.  Day passes will be granted after the parade, extending until 7 p.m.)

19 End of the 6th grading period

21 The following events are open to families, friends, faculty and staff (and attendance by cadets is required):

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. End-of-the-year Lunch/Picnic on the Middle School Circle.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  The Middle School Drill Team, the Dillard Guard, will perform on the Parade Field.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.  Middle School Graduation Parade on the Parade Field.

3:15 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Parent/Cadet Pictionary game in the Study Hall.

4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Parents/Cadets are encouraged to visit the Art Room during this time.

4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Dinner reception in the Estes Dining Hall.

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Awards Night in the Academy Chapel.

Note: Art pieces created by Middle School cadets will be on display during the day from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Middle School Art Classroom, located in the basement of Thomas Gymnasium.  

22 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Graduation Ceremony in the Academy Chapel (Required attendance for cadets.)

Upper School Awards Night and Graduation Exercises

The Upper School Academic Department, along with the faculty and staff of Fork Union Military Academy would like to welcome you to the closing exercises of the 2013-2014 school year.  As we conclude another year, it is our hope that you will be able to join us for all of the activities listed below. It is a very special time not only for those who are graduating, but for those who have seen them make so many accomplishments while they have been students here.  We want to make their graduation a very special day.

(For Middle School schedule information please click here.)

 

Listed below are the activities that will take place in the final days of school.


Thursday - 22 May 2014

Undergraduate Awards Ceremony
1:30 PM
Wicker Chapel

Friday - 23 May 2014

Review and Final Exams
8:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Senior/Postgraduate Final Parade
1:30 PM
Parade Field
(Departure of the underclassmen after the parade)

Reception for Seniors, Postgraduates, Families, Faculty & Staff
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Middle School Lawn

Upper School Awards Program for Seniors and Postgraduates
6:30 PM
Wicker Chapel

Ice Cream Party for Seniors, Postgraduates, their Families and Faculty and Staff 
 Following Awards Night Program
Estes Dining Hall

Saturday - 24 May 2014

Baccalaureate
8:00 AM
Wicker Chapel

Leave Office Newsletter for Spring

Hi! This is just a short note to keep you up to date on the last month of school (can you believe that it almost over?)

 

• Military Ball is Saturday, April 26th

 

• First Parade is Sunday, April 27 at 2:30pm. All cadets are to report to their TAC Officers 1:00pm.

 

• Alumni Weekend begins May 2 with the Trustee Luncheon and ends with the Parade on Sunday. All cadets are to report to their TAC Officers at 8:00am for the Veterans Ceremony. They are also required to be in the parade at 2:00pm.

 

• May 7 is College shirt day

 

• Mother’s Day leave begins on May 9 – day students are to report to their TAC Officers on Sunday at 1:00 for the parade at 2:30.

 

• Corps Activities Day on May 17th after Saturday classes

 

• Greenbrier Parade on May 18th at 2:30 – cadets are to report to their TAC Officers at 1:00 for the parade at 2:30.

 

• Athletic Awards night on 20 May

 

• Undergrads awards on 22 May

 

• Final exams on May 23 and undergrads are released after the parade for the Seniors and PG’s • Graduation on May 24 Military Ball and Graduation schedules are attached.

 

Thank you and please let me know if you have questions or need more information.

 

Mrs. Robbin Dodson

434-842-4231

dodsonr@fuma.org

Upper School Day Students

Hi!

This is just a short note to keep you up to date on the last month of school (can you believe that it almost over?)

• Military Ball is Saturday, April 26th

• First Parade is Sunday, April 27 at 2:30pm. All day student cadets are to report to their TAC Officers 1:30pm and will be released after the parade.

• Alumni Weekend begins May 2 with the Trustee Luncheon and ends with the Parade on Sunday. All day student cadets are to report to their TAC Officers at 8:30am for the Veterans Ceremony. They are also required to be in the parade at 2:30.

• May 7 is College shirt day

• Mother’s Day leave begins on May 9 – day students are to report to their TAC Officers on Sunday at 1:30 for the parade at 2:30.

• Corps Activities Day on May 17th after Saturday classes

• Greenbrier Parade on May 18th at 2:30 – day students are to report to their TAC Officers at 1:30 for the parade at 2:30.

• Athletic Awards night on 20 May

• Undergrads awards on 22 May

• Final exams on May 23 and undergrads are released after the parade for the Seniors and PG’s

Thank you and please let me know if you have questions or need more information.

Mrs. Robbin Dodson

434-842-4231

dodsonr@fuma.org

Called to Lead

At a recent staff meeting, we were discussing our ever-improving retention and reenrollment numbers...they are at record highs this year...the highest since we've been keeping records.  This is good news, particularly considering that today's youth are much more involved in the school selection process, unlike 20-30 years ago when parents decided [without input] what was best for their children. 

While this puts more pressure on all schools, and particularly schools like ours where the rewards don't appear so immediate, much research suggests that the ability to defer immediate gratification leads to a more successful future.  I also believe young people are brighter today than ever, more discerning, and less likely to accept the "advertisement" and more interested in "the reality."

Knowing this, all schools must include students (in our case cadets) in decision processes.  I'm not recommending we do everything they suggest, but am suggesting that the more they understand "why," the more willingly they will adapt to this environment.

On Friday before Easter Break we met with the 8th graders, providing a glimpse at life in Upper School, and encouraging them to return for the 9th grade.  It preceded a very quiet weekend, as only about 40 cadets remained on campus...but those few were treated to the First Annual Fraley Circle Easter Egg Hunt [the White House has nothing on us].

This Sunday is our first formal review of the season.  I watched parade practice on Wednesday afternoon at 1430 (2:30 PM).  This is probably the same day and time cadets have been practicing for decades...and I was impressed by the effort.  Clearly the practice is paying off.  Military drill teaches teamwork, leadership, and logistics.  Besides, everybody loves a parade [unless of course you are marching in it].

This review will honor four senior faculty members who are retiring at the end of this year, Ms. Bev Hanlin, COL Fred Hardy, COL John Ransone, and Ms. Lynn Armstrong.  We will miss all four, and of course Fork Union Military Academy will not be the same without them.  We will also recognize and honor them next weekend.

This Saturday is our Military Ball.  So many cadets are attending this year that we will hold it in Thomas Gym (like the old days).  I spoke with a young man today whose girlfriend is flying in from Illinois to attend the dance.  Betsy and I will be there, and it will be fun to put on Coast Guard "Dinner Dress Blue" again.

Today marks 30 days to the Upper School graduation.  Ms. Bev Hanlin and I went over the award ceremonies and commencement details.  Soon we will meet with the graduating seniors, so that they know the details to provide their families.  If you have any questions about activities, please visit our website, and if you have any questions about graduation, please call the Commandant of Cadets or the Registrar.

We are making preparations for the Board of Trustee meetings, and our annual Alumni Weekend.  This is 4 full days of action-packed excitement...an "all hands" activity...we are particularly looking forward to hosting the Class of 1964 for their 50th reunion.  Where did the time go? 

This week General John T. Chain, Jr. '52 visited the campus.  I enjoyed hearing stories of his cadet days from 1948-1952.  He picked a beautiful day to visit, and marveled at the new barracks, Jacobson Hall, and seeing many campus improvements for the first time (library expansion, new swimming pool, social center).  I had fun contrasting and comparing "yesterday" to today, and was pleased to hear him embrace the many changes with appreciation and vigor.

Like nearly everyone who served so successfully for decades in the Armed Forces of the United States, he's learned to adapt and embrace change.  As we toured the campus and interacted with faculty, staff, and cadets...all who welcomed him home...my message was that we should treat every cadet as though they may one day become a four star general...

I will close with the remarks I made to the 8th graders, as I explained the value of military high schools and why it is important for those "called to lead" to attend Fork Union Military Academy:

"As I examine the landscape of American culture, a crisis is looming.  It is a crisis of education, a crisis of culture, a crisis of faith.  There must be people, united by a common purpose, who prepare young people to do the hard work of leading others.  President Roosevelt describes this as being "the man who is actually in the arena." 

There must be schools like this that give young people what they need, which doesn't always match what they want.  This is the only way we will maintain this nation's freedom and our system of democracy.  There must be young men, willing to sacrifice a little fun today, for a brighter future in which they are prepared to lead others with character.

Military academies, particularly those like ours that prepare young people for college; grounded by strong faith in God and Christian values; and with an emphasis on physical fitness, are an answer to solving this crisis that results from self-gratification and a quest to collect worldly possessions rather than serving the common good.

Throughout time there has always been a core group of young men who were destined to lead others...perhaps even called to lead.  For those, there must be a place, free of distractions and excesses where they can focus on timeless values, academic preparation, and physical stamina; a place where they learn to communicate and build trust; a place that builds responsibility with well supervised risk-taking.

Earlier this week, Olympic gold medal swimmer Josh Davis, spoke and defined freedom as the ability to do the right thing, wherever you are, regardless of what anyone around you is doing.

While it may sound incongruous, military schools teach freedom, even when it appears to the casual observer as though the students are little less free. 

Those who are called to lead others, or have a passion for leading others (and are willing to learn), should consider college-preparatory (100% of our students are accepted to college), Christian (faith-based), military schools.  Life at Fork Union is not easy, in fact the experience is a real challenge, but as can be seen in the success of our graduates, is clearly worth it. 

On the other hand, if you are not called to lead, but are destined to follow, any school may do."

Go Leadership! Go FUMA!

Freedom

I took an unexpected break from the blog last week, spending my "blog night" preparing remarks for the retirement of a Coast Guardsman who served as my facility engineer at the Coast Guard Academy.  He asked me to be his guest speaker, and I enjoyed seeing old friends, and making sure CDR Scott Gesele retired with the same respect, dignity, and professionalism with which he served.

From there, Betsy and I drove north to see all three of our grandchildren, and celebrate my daughter's birthday, taking time on Sunday for a "good old fashioned" Easter egg hunt, which appeared much more competitive than I remember as a child.  It brought great joy to have a special time with John Thomas, Emily Grace, and James Scott, looking into their eyes and reminding them how blessed they are to be loved by so many.

We've seen every kind of weather this week...rain, sun, spring warmth, and freezing cold...but the campus is transforming...and giving us glimpses of how beautiful it will be by the May Board of Trustee meetings and Alumni Weekend.  We are looking forward to celebrating Honorary Alumni Awards, a Distinguished Alumnus, and the 50th reunion for the Class of 1964.  It will be an exciting weekend...action packed.

Of course this is Easter [leave] weekend, a special time of renewal and rebirth...a time to reflect on the essence of Christianity...and the hope, grace, and forgiveness we can learn from a life well lived.  Many look forward to spending time with family, and only a small percentage of our cadets [who live too far away] will remain on campus.

This morning at Chapel, Josh Davis, an Olympic swimmer who won three gold medals for the USA in 1996 and two silver medals in 2000, gave a very personal and powerful message to all of us about faith and making good choices.  He said that a good coach or mentor believes in you, encourages you, and gives you truth.  They give you skill, motivation, and love...

What I most enjoyed was his definition of freedom.  He said that many believe freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, with whoever you want, when you want; yet he defined true freedom as the ability to do the right thing whenever you want regardless of what anyone else is doing around you.

His message was filled with energy, passion, and terrific advice on allowing God to be our coach, and he encouraged us to heed the advice provided in scripture.  This way we can live our lives with true freedom...free from the many worldly influences that block us from reaching our full potential.  More information about Josh Davis can be found at http://www.joshdavis.com/.

Earlier this week we were visited by two members from the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund, which was established in 1941 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Keesee of Martinsville, Virginia, for the purpose of aiding worthy men and women to obtain an education.  The Board's generosity has allowed over twenty cadets to receive scholarships of between $2,500 and $5,000.  We enjoy our relationship and having their board members visit to learn more about Fork Union Military Academy. 

We spoke at length about the school's past and its future, attended Tuesday's Chapel service, enjoyed a delicious lunch (with two cadets) at Careby Hall, then they had a cadet-led tour, and I answered some final questions.  The visit provided direct interaction with three of the scholarship recipients, and put a face on their gift of education.  It was clear that we share a passion for open access to quality private education, and an interest in providing values-based education that builds character in tomorrow's leaders.

I was encouraged that over 60 cadets plan to attend our annual Military Ball on April 26th.  With dates, there will be over 120 young people attending, all in their most formal attire.  This year the event will return to Thomas Gym with a live professional DJ (an alumnus) and the seniors will attend free, thanks to a productive cadet-led Social Center enterprise that sold popcorn, treats, and soft drinks throughout the school year.  The seniors will enter through a traditional arch of sabres.

This year we will be starting a new tradition.  On May 7th we've invited all the seniors and postgraduates to wear a shirt that represents the college they've chosen to attend.  There is still debate on whether the staff should join in by wearing shirts representing their alma mater, but this day will be another incentive for our underclassmen to achieve their goal of college acceptance at the school of their dreams (or their budget).  There are some special colors I'll be looking for...but any color representing college acceptance will be cherished.

Last weekend we hosted Eddie George as the Annual Gus Lacy Track Meet guest of honor.  It is always wonderful to have him back on campus...and from the pictures on social media, it looked like cadets and competitors alike welcomed him with enthusiasm.  Eddie George is also the newest member of our Board of Trustees, and we look forward to having him be an important force in the future of Fork Union Military Academy.

That same Saturday FUMA won 1st place in the High School Division at our Annual Chess Open.  Cadet Kang was our leader with 3 out of 4 wins.  Please see the picture below:

One of my highlights this week was not my annual physical, but was an interview by the 7th grade Drama Class.  They asked me several questions while being videotaped.  The questions ranged from "Why did you join the Coast Guard?" to "If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?" to "Who had the most influence on your life?"

Someday we may publish the entire interview, but I'll close by answering the "influence" question.  I answered that it was my mother.  She taught me to work hard, be nice to those around me, and she prepared me for independence.  I learned today that my mother also taught me to be free.

Only 122 days until Cadet Officers report for the 2014-2015 Academy Year, 134 days until classes begin, and 36 days to this year's Upper School Commencement, and 34 days to the MS graduation. 

Go FUMA!