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October News from Guidance Office
Posted 10/04/2017 01:00PM

The end of the first term is right around the corner.  It won’t be long before our Upper School cadets are sitting down to take their final exams for their first class and preparing to begin their second class.  And it won’t be long before we welcome all of you back to campus for our annual Parents’ Day Weekend.  We look forward to seeing as many of you as can attend.

Last month we administered the ACT on campus to over 60 of our cadets.  We will be offering another ACT administration later this month, on October 28th.  The late registration period for this test ends on October 6th.  We will be giving the SAT on Saturday, October 7th.  The late registration date for this test has already passed.  We will be offering the SAT again on November 4th.  The registration deadline is coming up soon, October 5th.  We recommend that our seniors take either/both of these tests in the fall so that these scores can be considered in the college admissions process.  As you may be aware, both ACT and SAT results are superscored.  Only the highest section scores across testing dates are considered, offering students their highest possible composite score.  Lastly regarding testing, we will be administering the PSAT/NMSQT to all of our 10th and 11th graders on Wednesday morning, October 11th.  This testing provides these cadets a measurement of their college readiness and is good practice for the SAT.  The PSAT 8/9, also used to measure college readiness, will be administered to all of our 8th and 9th graders on November 11th.  The PSAT for grades 9-11 is administered at the Academy’s expense.

Last month, on September 22nd, the Guidance Office sponsored its first College Road Trip of the year.  Four of our seniors and one junior traveled with COL Rob Feathers, our Guidance Director, to the campus of James Madison University ( to learn about what this school has to offer its students and to gain a better understanding of college culture.  Following an admissions presentation and a tour of the campus, the crew enjoyed dinner in the University’s cafeteria prior to returning to campus.  The cadets were joined by two of last year’s graduates, Ben Chiovaro and Gavin Tomchick.  Photos from this event can be found here. During the course of the year, the Guidance Department will sponsor several more road trips to other campuses within a short drive of the Academy.  Details for the next school visit have not yet been finalized.

Speaking of college, our Upper School Cadets enjoyed taking some time away from class to talk to admissions representatives from colleges and universities at our recent College Day, held on our campus on September 21st.  Coordinated by Ms. Rhonda White, our Guidance Coordinator, fifty colleges and universities attended this event, as well as recruiters from several military branches.  Photos from this event can be found here.  We’re pleased to announce that four of our cadets have already received letters of college acceptance.  We look forward to celebrating this milestone with all of our seniors and post-graduates.

Also, speaking of college, seniors should start working with their parents on completing the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA).  This the first step in receiving student aid for college.  Know that financial aid funds are FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED, so it is important to begin the application process as soon as possible.  Information regarding FAFSA can be found here.

The Guidance Department sponsored its first seminar of the year last month through its “Let’s Talk” series, entitled Make it GREAT!  Our guest speaker, the Rev. Maurice Carter, provided the cadet attendees an inspiring message about taking advantage of opportunities that come our way and the importance of bringing others along in the process.  He shared with the cadets his experience of being the first person in his community to attend college and described all of the hopes and dreams of his family and friends that he carried with him along his journey.

A second seminar was held at the end of the month, Keep Calm and Write Your College Essay.  This session was led by our own Mrs. Nicole Hackenberg, who provided tips to those in attendance on how to write an effective, attention-grabbing college essay.  It was so well-received that she will be providing an encore performance of this session on Wednesday evening, Oct. 4th.    

The Guidance Department will be sponsoring two upcoming evening workshops to help our seniors work on their college applications.  These events will be held during the evenings of October 11th and 18th in the Academy’s Social Center Building.  Free pizza should provide sufficient incentive to fill the room as we work with our seniors to help them complete their applications.

During the weekend of October 13-15, COL Feathers and one of our teachers, CPT David Mitchell, will be chaperoning 15 of our Middle School cadets on a weekend Christian retreat to Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center, just outside of Lynchburg, VA.  This annual middle school event, offered to youth groups from around the state, includes great music, inspiring teaching, and fun fellowship.  Over 300 students are expected to attend.  More about this “Ignite” weekend can be found here. 

We look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming Parents’ Weekend, October 20th-23rd. Information about this event can be found on the Academy’s website.  Festivities include Saturday morning parent/teacher conferences in the Estes Athletic Center, followed by the annual Parents’ Day parade on the Parade Grounds.  The Guidance Department will be offering two sessions on navigating the college application process for parents, entitled What’s Next?  This session will be offered in the Wicker Chapel on Friday evening from 1900-2000 hours and again on Saturday morning from 0800-0900 hours. For parents who are planning on meeting with your son’s teachers on that Saturday morning, you might want to check out this linked article from NPR in preparation for your conferences.

We very much appreciate the opportunity to serve your son (and you) as we strive to make this your son’s best year yet.  Please never hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. 

Department of Guidance & Counseling

COL Rob Feathers, Guidance Director and Counselor for Cadets in Grades 7-9

LTC John DeVault, Counselor for Cadets in Grades 10 and 11

Ms. Jenny Payne, College Placement Officer and Counselor for Grade 12 and Postgraduates

Ms. Rhonda White, Coordinator of Guidance Services & Testing Director




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