News & Blogs

Cadets Volunteer at Special Olympics Event

Six Upper School and eight Middle School cadets recently volunteered at the annual Special Olympics National Tennis Tournament at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville.  They carried the state placards to help lead the “Parade of States” at the event.  This event, held Thursday evening, Jan. 16th, was followed by our cadets volunteering as ball boys for a 2-hour block on Saturday morning, the 19th.  Our cadets were immensely impressed by the athleticism of the Special Olympians.  Participating in community service projects and events is an integral component  of the Middle School program, helping our cadets to understand that they are responsible for making a positive difference in the larger society outside of the Academy gate.

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Debate Team Earns Fifth Place Trophy and Adds Four State Qualifiers

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At 0600 on Saturday, January 11th, nine cadets (one Senior and eight Freshmen) along with three faculty members (COL Ransone, Mrs. Giszack and Miss Welch) boarded a bus and headed for Cosby High School (Richmond area).  Tate Brumfield, Andrew Hill, Mario Tcheukado, Jacob Rodriguez and Jonathan Smalara competed in Extemporaneous Speaking.  Michael Head and Logan Parks competed in Student Congress.  Andrew Hyers competed in Oral Interpretation and Ryan McEnroe competed in Original Oratory.

Along the way we stopped for breakfast.  As daybreak arrived some cadets continued to catch up on their sleep, while others contemplated ways to phrase their points in Student Congress speeches.  Cadets were able to continue final preparation when they arrived at the tournament site.

Extemporaneous speakers reviewed news articles and Student Congress members reviewed legislation which dealt with the five topic areas assigned by the league.  The five areas were sanctions on Iran, minimum wage, South Africa, immigration reform, and merit pay for teachers.  Original oratory and oral interpretation competitors continued to rehearse their selections.

During their three rounds of competition, FUMA cadets competing in Extemporaneous Speaking developed speeches to answer the following questions:

Cadet Joshua Henriques named “Cadet of the Month” in Middle School

RADM J. Scott Burhoe, President of Fork Union Military Academy, congratulates Cadet Joshua Henriques on his selection as "Cadet of the Month."

RADM J. Scott Burhoe, President of Fork Union Military Academy, congratulates Cadet Joshua Henriques on his selection as "Cadet of the Month."

Cadet Joshua Henriques was named "Cadet of the Month" at Fork Union Military Academy's Middle SchoolCadet Joshua Henriques, an 8th grader at Fork Union Military Academy’s Middle School, was recently named “Cadet of the Month.”  The son of Mr. and Mrs. Miguel Henriques of West Nyack, NY, Joshua is a first year cadet at the Academy.  He has proven himself a stellar student and cadet by earning academic honors and excellent conduct honors for the first semester of this school year.  As a member of the Middle School’s soccer and wrestling teams, Joshua is an accomplished athlete, as well.  He is also a member of the school’s band and marching drill team, “The Dillard Guard”.  He holds the rank of corporal as an assistant squad leader in the Cadet Corps.  Josh is looking forward to attending the Academy’s Upper School and then plans to attend the Air Force Academy.

Polar Vortex

A polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near either of a planet's geographical poles and they are weaker during summer and strongest during winter.  If I'd known what a polar vortex was before this week, I would have prayed for one the last three summers here in Fork Union.  On Monday morning, as the sun rose over the campus, I could feel its presence.

It wasn't the cold brought in by this weather pattern that was so noticeable, but instead, a "calm before the storm."  This is one of my favorite weather conditions...this calm just before the weather changes.  I met with the cadets, faculty, and staff at 0745 on Monday morning, arriving about the same time as the vortex.

I greeted them by saying:

"I trust everyone had a terrific Christmas break, and everyone is looking forward to what 2014 will bring.  There are 137 days from now until the end of school and graduation, only the months of January, February, March, April, and May.

We look forward to taking this time to develop the cadet leadership for next year, and I encourage those desiring leadership positions to make sure we know of your interest.

I reminded everyone of existing rules, regulations, policies, and reinforced our core values of respect, integrity, faith, character, and discipline...encouraging everyone to let these values guide their every action, and ended by saying:

"Those outside Fork Union Military Academy know that our cadets are in a strict environment...and that this is not an ordinary high school or boarding school.  Our standards are higher...our graduates are better...they sacrifice a little today for a brighter future.

Fork Union Military Academy has a reputation for being the best school like ours in the United States.  Yes, we still have work to do, but we are the best all boy's college preparatory, Christian, military school in the country.

Every two to three years we have a few cadets who begin to believe that they are bigger, better, and smarter than the school...none of us, is more important than the reputation and legacy of Fork Union.

Sometimes leadership positions bring out the worst in people, which is unfortunate because leadership should bring out the best.  I would like to work on that."

All year I've been impressed by the way the Corps of Cadets has actively listened during Chapel Services and these "All Hands" meetings.  Before the day was over, the temperature had dropped from the 50's to about 15 degrees.  We modified a few formations, and temporarily changed some routines to ensure everyone would be safe.  Thankfully we made it through a very cold week without any casualties to buildings or people.

We welcomed a few new cadets on Monday, and my suspicion is that Regina, our barber, was busy, because there was much less hair on the heads of the cadets when I spoke with them on Tuesday morning at the first Chapel Service of the year.  My remarks from that service are posted here if you are interested in reading them.  I made it a sort of "Coast Guard Day in January," keeping the message a little lighter, but wanted to continue the tradition of the FUMA President providing this first Chapel Service of the new year.

By Wednesday, despite the cold and wind, cadet morale seemed high.  The food was hot and delicious, sports teams were preparing again for competition, and we began making plans for a ring ceremony before Winter Break.  Winter Break?  Didn't we just have a long break?  But I remember from the last two years just how nice it is to have a 3 day weekend at the end of January to get everyone through to Spring.

Today's Chapel Service centered on hypocrisy.  Chaplain Benson was filled with "fire and brimstone," clearly passionate about this topic and the words from Matthew 23: 1-23.  Before the message, Cadet Ro included in his prayer for us to pray for those who may be homesick.  I appreciated this reminder...about how far away from home many of our students are, and a reminder of adolescence. 

Today's lesson while for everyone, spoke primarily to those of us in positions of leadership.  We must do what we tell others to do...and it reminded me of an expression I've used often which is:

"I can't be sure he is listening to what I say, but I am certain he is watching what I do." 

Leaders cannot say one thing and do another, and if you are going to enforce a rule or regulation, you must follow that same rule yourselves.

It is good to be back in full swing...hard to believe we are already making preparations for graduation, and on Friday of next week, only the last half of the school year will remain.


First Chapel Service of 2014

Below are the remarks of RADM J. Scott Burhoe, delivering the message to cadets at the first Chapel Service of 2014:

I love Chaplain Benson's Chapel messages.  He has a real gift that allows him to relate the word of God to young and old.

My faith has grown over the last three years thanks to Chapel Services at Fork Union.

When I was in high school I referred to myself as agnostic.  This is a term used for someone who really isn't sure if there is a God or not. 

I came [back] to Christ in the fall of my senior year of college, after being challenged to read the Bible...a book I'd criticized and claimed contradicted itself without ever reading it through.  When I actually began reading the scripture, it allowed the light to shine.  Being a Christian made for an interesting and better last year of college, particularly considering that I had just recently been elected President of my college fraternity. 

But that is a whole other story...

After graduating from college I searched for a profession where I could serve God by serving others...

Throughout most of my time in the Coast Guard I wondered whether God really wanted me to be doing that or not...

I assumed He did because I kept getting promoted, and I never had to compromise my faith to be successful...honesty was rewarded every time.  And I learned to temper my honesty with respect and professionalism.

I confided in a Coast Guard Chaplain while serving at the Coast Guard Academy that I wished God would speak to he spoke to Moses or a loud discernable voice that was surely God's...or through a burning bush. 

Otherwise how could I be sure I was doing what God wanted me to do?

The Chaplain told me that God was speaking to me...but he was speaking to me through others...and that all I needed to do was listen.

This story will illustrate that point:

Middle School News...

Happy New Year!  And, on this particular day of the new year, all of us at FUMA are finding ourselves wrapped in our parkas, knit caps, and gloves.  The temperature reading this morning was close to zero degrees, and it hasn’t risen much since daybreak.  Warmer weather is predicted for the end of the week, but, until then, we’re doing our best not to venture too much outside.  You might want to consider sending your son a pair of thermal underwear for future days like this one.

It’s good to have the boys back from their vacation.  I readily admit that I missed them…and the hustle and bustle of the school atmosphere.  I stayed pretty close to Fork Union during vacation and enjoyed having all of our kids home for Christmas.  I hope that you enjoyed your son’s company over Christmas break.  And I hope that he practiced every good manner that we’ve been trying to instill in all of our cadets during his time at home.

The 3rd grading period ends this coming Monday, and, with this milestone, the end of the 1st semester.  It’s hard to believe that the year will be half over come Monday.  I marvel at the maturity that I have seen develop in so many of our cadets over the course of this past semester, and I look forward to the growth that is to come.  We have a dynamic group of cadets this year…quite possibly the most enjoyable Corps I’ve had here since my first day on the job.  They truly seem to enjoy each other.  The feeling of camaraderie is strong among them, and it is anticipated that this sense of brotherhood will only grow stronger as we continue into the school year.