I wanted to provide you with an update on the Academy as we close the 2020-2021 academic school year.
1. Our 122nd Academic Year:
The Corps of Cadets completed a full academic year with in-person classes and scheduled virtual learning throughout a global pandemic. Our cadets have worked hard in the classroom since August, engaged fully in our military structure while away from their families and friends. In-person visits were very limited with just two major leaves and no weekend passes until the last few weeks of school, all because of the global pandemic. The Academy’s administration, staff, and faculty served our cadets throughout this challenging year, working tirelessly to get these young men to the finish line. This dedication by all helps us remain one of the largest military prep schools/academies in the United States with over 340 young men enrolled during this year.
The Academy participated in every interscholastic sport it has to offer, including postgraduate and high school football, soccer, cross country, postgraduate and high school basketball, swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field. Most recently, the outdoor track and field program finished fourth in the State, with two individual State Champions, and placed fourth in the Virginia Prep League as well. Bravo, gentlemen!
On May 21, we celebrated the Class of 2021 during FUMA’s 122nd commencement ceremony. On the hot summer day, I watched the families and friends of 46 seniors clap and cheer as their hardworking cadet finished something that not everyone could do. This year has been a challenging one for all, but especially for these young men at Fork Union Military Academy. The Class of 2021 received 100-percent college acceptance and were awarded over $4.4 million in merit-based scholarships. The graduating class could not have accomplished this without the leadership of our Academic Dean COL Michael Goad and the entire academic team, which has been exceptional.
Our Valedictorian of the Class of 2021, Cadet Gregory Hyson, told us in his valedictory address "What I realized [during my time at FUMA] is that this is my chance to develop myself and make myself better than I was before. It began there, I decided to make it so that every day I grew better than I was the day before. I didn’t realize it until this year, but it was Me vs. Me. The only person standing between me and my success was me, and the only person that can overcome my failures was me. This Me vs. Me attitude is probably one of the biggest gifts I have received by being here because I believe it transcends the boundaries of FUMA - it is something that can be used to develop a path in life that you, not anyone else, wants to live." Cadet Hyson finished his senior year in strong fashion with a final GPA of 4.695, just barely edging ahead of Cadet Marcus Billingslea, who was named Salutatorian with a final GPA of 4.672. It was wonderful to welcome the Valedictorian of the Class of 2011, Blake Sundel, back to campus to deliver an inspiring address as our Commencement Speaker. Blake shared three valuable lessons he learned at Fork Union that have not changed: start with respect, live a life of character, and do what you were trained to do.
2. VAIS Interim Accreditation Visit:
Our VAIS interim accreditation visit took place on April 18-20 and resulted in a clean report with no findings for improvement. The Academy received commendations in the following areas: Esprit de Corps, Mission, Culture, One Subject Plan, and Our Approach to Challenges. A special thanks to LTC Steve McCoy and staff and faculty that worked tirelessly to ensure our success.
3. Alumni Day:
The Academy welcomed alumni back to the campus on May 22 to celebrate Alumni Day. The event was a huge success with over 100 participants attending. Mr. Ken Koeller was named 2021 Distinguished Alumnus of the Academy. He will be officially recognized next spring along with Mr. Charlie Daniel, the 2020 recipient of this honor. Dr. Emerson Farley was named Honorary Alumnus of the Academy. We look forward to hosting Alumni Weekend next year and spending more time with our FUMA family.
4. Annual Giving Update:
We are on track to finish strong as the fiscal year closes. We have secured the funding for the first phase of Flag Hall, which will give the cadets dedicated music space as part of a two-phased project. Thank you for the support, particularly your generous giving toward the annual fund.
5. Excitement for the Summer:
Academic Summer Session
The Admissions team continues to seek the best applicants and is excited for the 2021 Summer Session, which begins June 27. As with the Academic Year, FUMA will provide a meaningful, enriching academic experience, which is desperately needed for many young men who did not have the benefit of the FUMA experience this past academic year. If you know a young man who might benefit from the summer session, it is not too late! Contact 1-800-GO2FUMA (1-800-462-3862) for more details.
In addition, the Academy is excited for the return of its three summer camps.
- Football, Strength & Speed Camp is set for the June 11-13 weekend and is directed by postgraduate football coach Frank Arritt. While enrollment is already projected to be double that of the prior year, there is still space and time to register. If you would like to learn more about Football, Strength & Speed Camp, click here.
- Father-Son Weekend is set for June 25-27 and is directed by Director of Summer Camps Mark Shuman. Father-Son Weekend is perfect for boys aged 5 through 14 and their father (or other adult male). If you would like to learn more about Father-Son Weekend, click here.
- Fork Union Basketball School is set for July 11-15 and is directed by postgraduate basketball coach Seth Wilson. This is the oldest camp at the Academy with a strong reputation throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and east coast! Register early - this one sells out! If you would like to learn more about Basketball School, click here.
6. Excitement for the 2021-2022 Academic Year:
We plan to open the 2021-2022 academic year on August 17, with our Cadet Leadership trainees enrolling as early as August 2. Our academic, athletic, and special events calendars are subject to change so please continue to check forkunion.com/calendar for the latest updates to our School Calendar.
7. Tell the Story:
Our greatest recruiting resource is a happy FUMA cadet and camper, with proud and talkative parents. Our Trustees, Alumni, Staff/Faculty, Parents Association/Class Leaders, and community members are essential in our recruiting efforts. We appreciate the referrals you have sent our way thus far and hope to continue with the momentum heading into the next academic year. Testimonials in sales/marketing work the best, so tell the positive FUMA story. You may refer new families through the Admissions page on our website at https://www.forkunion.com/admissions/refer-cadet, email email@example.com, or call 434-842-4205. Simply provide the prospective family’s name and email or phone number and a member of the Admissions team will contact them.
We have a new webpage dedicated to FUMA success stories and invite you to share yours at https://www.forkunion.com/success-stories. Now, more than ever, young men and their families need what FUMA has to offer – we just need to tell the story!
We have a strong foundation and one that will not be washed away in sinking sand. We stand on the solid rock. God has blessed FUMA. Thank you for all you do for our cadets and the Academy.
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy