Fork Union came into play for me in 2006 at the beginning of my high school career. My uncle was a graduate of the class of 1996, so I already knew a little about the school. My grandfather (who raised me) gave me the option to attend Fork Union Military Academy my freshman year, just to get the experience. My plan was to complete one year, and then enroll in high school back home. However, after that first year, I kept thinking about what could come of me continuing the “FUMA journey.” So, I told my grandfather that I wanted to go back and he made the arrangements.
At the completion of my second year with zero demerits, I figured that I should finish and graduate from FUMA. So, I set a goal for myself to become Battalion Commander. Many people doubted that I could achieve my goal, but I was never worried because it was all a part of my plan. Every move I made was a step in that direction, and come senior year, I was named Battalion Commander under the direction of the Commandant.
When you set the highest goals for yourself and you fall short, you have still lived up to your full potential (in most cases). If you set goals for yourself that you know you will achieve, then you have not lived up to your full potential; it’s as if you’re scared to test your capabilities. I have always been a person who tests the limits and does what people say I can’t do. FUMA taught me the value of hard work and dedication. I learned to follow the rules and made the best of my time while a FUMA cadet. I was confident that I would be able to make it through college because of the success that I had at FUMA.
After graduating from FUMA in 2010, I went on to attend The Citadel Military College of South Carolina. While at The Citadel I competed as a varsity track athlete and currently hold the school outdoor long jump record. Between my freshman and sophomore year, I enlisted in the Army National Guard. Once I graduated from Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, I went back to The Citadel for my remaining three years and graduated with the class of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
Since graduating from The Citadel, I have gone on to fulfill management roles in Fortune 500 companies like Cintas and Amazon. Currently, I am still serving in the South Carolina National Guard as a 1st Lieutenant Transportation Officer in the 122nd Engineer Battalion while working on building a valet business from the ground up and being 100% self-employed. My goal is to grow my company into a 7-figure business. I want to establish my own empire (so to speak) and pass it along to my future kids. I also plan to finish my masters so that I can educate youth about the importance of entrepreneurship. In today’s world, I believe one of the best things a person can do is learn to control the outcome of his/her professional career. As I grow my own business, I know the self-discipline learned from the military structure was an important lesson; I learned to do what was expected of me even when no one was standing over me. FUMA also taught me the importance of integrity, which prepared me for the world. I believe integrity to be an integral part of developing self-discipline.
When I look back on my time spent at FUMA, I think about what I would have done differently. Although I was an honor graduate, I would have immersed myself even more into my academics. Moving from the one subject plan to the collegiate course load can be a challenge for many, and you have to be able to receive and retain a vast amount of information in order to be successful at the collegiate level. That being said, I know in my heart that FUMA is one of the main reasons that I have been able to achieve the success that I have.
“... a mountain that very few have climbed. You can choose to climb to the top and stand among an elite few, or you can bypass the opportunity because you are afraid of what you’ll endure on your way to the top.”Eddie Jones, Class of 2010