Find the Good and Praise It

Last night I presented awards at the Virginia Military School Rifle League banquet, held right here at the Fork Union Village Restaurant. Fork Union Military Academy won the state tournament and regular season championship  for the third consecutive year. Cadet Daniel Nix won the most individual awards, and the team is positioned to have another terrific year in 2012.  Congratulations to the cadets and the coaches, CPT James Benson and CPT Mike Pavlansky. 
This week we welcomed several new cadets, and reflected on the excitement of last week and the weekend. We had beautiful weather for Parents Weekend, and enjoyed very positive interaction with our parents, grandparents, and families.  My comment after the Corps was formed and placed at parade rest was: “I’ve been doing this for over 34 years, and seen many parades, but haven’t seen it done any better than this.”  It was an impressive display, and I could see the pride in each cadet as they passed in review.
On Monday I visited another military prep school in Virginia. I enjoyed learning from an experienced president, and it gave me a renewed appreciation for the expansive and well-manicured campus of FUMA. It also showed me how our new dormitory will help us outpace other boarding schools…and reminded me of our uniqueness as a Christian, college-preparatory, residential boarding school that uses the best elements of the military.
Monday evening a good friend from the United States Coast Guard Academy, Fred Herzberg, stopped by for a visit.  He recorded an oral history of my Coast Guard career. He is a member of the great Class of 1955, a class that “adopted” me as an honorary member. It was humbling to record the highlights of my career on video, and fun to catch up on “old times.” 
In just a few moments I will attend the Commandant’s Call in Wicker Chapel.  This year FUMA purchased the medals for all those cadets who earned a place on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List for the entire 2010-2011 school year.  I look forward to making those presentations, and encouraging everyone to strive for academic excellence. 
Alex Haley, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Roots,” started his writing career after joining the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. His personal motto, "Find the Good and Praise It," is consistent with my own leadership philosophy, and something we will do more of each day here at Fork Union Military Academy.
Go Corps of Cadets!  Go FUMA!