In other schools, young people might gain status based on their popularity, athletic ability, or the clique they hang out with. At Fork Union Military Academy, rank is earned based on true merit and achievement.
A cadet who shows responsibility, consistent good conduct, and leadership potential can earn rank– first within his company, and perhaps later at the battalion level. Cadet officers lead their platoons and companies under the direct adult supervision of the Commandant and the members of his staff, known as Tactical Officers. These cadet officers learn valuable lessons about responsibility, the use of authority, discretion, and leading by example.
In addition to our leadership-in-practice model within the cadet corps, students are required to take a character and leadership development seminar course as a graduation requirement. This half-credit course is required of all juniors and first-year seniors, regardless of whether a cadet has achieved rank. The seminar is designed to incorporate studies in servant leadership, leadership science, and character development. At the end of the course, each student is required to present a case study on a prominent leader of his choosing as the summative assessment. The goal of the seminar is to empower our cadets to strengthen their character and leadership abilities not only during their time at Fork Union but also within their families and communities long after they graduate.