Name: Houston Eldridge,Title: Upper School Faculty - Social Studies
Years at FUMA: 13...I think
Duties: Teach U.S. History, U. S. Government, Honors Western Civilization, Summer Leadership Program, Scoutmaster for FUMA's Troop 125
Describe yourself in one sentence. An old man who doesn't know what he wants to do when he grows up.
What is your favorite FUMA memory? What?...only one?
For most of my time here at FUMA, I was an assistant football coach. At one home game several years ago, an official observed several penalties during one play. He threw his flag and then his hat. When I saw that he was searching for something else to throw, I thought I'd help by tossing in my hat. A FUMA coach beside me saw it too and threw his hat onto the field. Another official ran over throwing his flag, so I threw my shoe. Another flag was thrown, another shoe, a hat and then I think I added my clipboard to the pile on the field. I can't remember who we were playing, or if we won or lost the game, but I do recall how the coaches, players and an official or two continued to giggle throughout the remainder of the game.
Every year we invite elected officials, candidates and representatives from both political parties to our Civics Day. The highlight of this event is the debate between the two parties. I have this little box with three lights on it that a student operates to let the debaters know when they've reached their time limit. One year, I jokingly told the student tasked with the box that after the red light has been on for awhile, feel free to stand up and tell the speakers that their time has expired. Days later, during the debate, and after the red light had been on for awhile, the student stood to attention, and shouted at the politician, "Your time is up. Sit down and be quiet."
In the time you have been at the Academy, what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment?
- Writing the curriculum for and teaching the summer leadership course.
- Going from "absolutely brain-dead" about being a Scoutmaster to "having some basic knowledge" in one year's time.
What job duties/responsibilities do you have at FUMA that others may not be aware of?
- Editor of Parents' newsletter, Front and Center
- I keep track of the mailroom stapler which often goes missing.
- Civics Day
If you were given two free tickets to any sporting or entertainment event in the U.S., what would be the name of the event or performer printed on those tickets? To be honest, I don't like crowds. I would pay money NOT have to go to most sporting or entertainment events. I'd rather watch the game on TV or buy the DVD and hear what the personality has to say or sing in the comfort of my "man cave" rather than elbow my way into a crowded auditorium/ stadium.
What is your favorite pastime? When I get the chance, I sit down and take a nap. I try not to nap during my own lectures.
What advice can you offer to current cadets to help them understand the importance of a good education, as well as how FUMA can benefit their future success? When I ask new cadets what their friends say about them during their first leaves, their answers are almost the same. It's almost always, "My friends say I've changed." In just 2 or 3 short weeks young men from all over the world are placed in an environment that at first appears restrictive, but turns out to be a liberating experience. Young men at FUMA are actually freed from the pressures of peers and a culture often in conflict with what's right and productive. Cadets at FUMA are provided the opportunity to develop the habits that lead to success. The changes that occur are obvious to their family and friends back home. Most cadets mature and begin making correct choices about their academics and behavior in a relatively short period of time. We provide the environment; the students make the choices.
I would advise the students to choose to think of FUMA as an opportunity to develop the habits that lead to success. Our thoughts lead to our emotions and our emotions influence our behaviors which develop into habits. These habits define our character, producing our destiny. In other words, our minds evaluate; our emotions react, and we choose to act. Cadets can choose to see FUMA as a place of restrictions and rules, that FUMA is an impediment to their freedom, or they can see this place as an environment free from major distractions and choose to take advantage of it. Success stories can start here, but it's a decision each cadet must make.