Parents Tell Their  Stories

Testimonials

Parents have shared with us the stories of their cadets, many of whom have overcome tremendous challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in the past couple of school years and have shown great determination and grit.

We invite you to read their stories below and share your own success story about your experience at Fork Union.
Fork Union Campus

Success Stories

Your cadet's success story

This has been a most unusual and challenging school year, but your cadet has gotten through to the finish line. We know you must be very proud of him.

Please tell us about your cadet's success story.

• What has he accomplished this year?
• What are you most proud of?
• What do you think contributed to his success?
• What lessons do you think your cadet has learned at Fork Union?
• What impact do you think his success at Fork Union had on your family and his future?
May we share your success story with other parents who are considering Fork Union?(Required)
Accepted file types: jpg, png, pdf, Max. file size: 5 MB.
(i.e. "A current parent," "Mrs. Jane Smith," etc.)

Thank you so much! And may I offer my best wishes to you and your family.

Best regards,
Dan Thompson
Director of Marketing
Office of the President
Fork Union Military Academy
thompsod@fuma.org

Our son chose FUMA after touring several local private schools. Making a change from public to private school was something that we knew our son wanted and needed but I truly did not fully understand how much he would thrive at Fork Union.

The daily “How was your day?” question became one of the highlights of my day. My son enjoyed school for the first time in a long time and was thriving academically, socially, spiritually and athletically. In the evenings, on the ride home from school, he would share story after story about his daily interactions with cadets, teachers, coaches, teammates and his TAC Officer.

I asked him, "Why do you like FUMA?" He said, “Because of the freedom we have.”

This was not exactly the answer I expected to hear from a kid at a military school. I asked him to explain.

He said: “Mom, we have expectations and a lot of rules we have to follow but we aren’t sitting in a boring classroom all day long. We have chances to go outside, move around, and focus on what we are interested in. We can eat whatever and however much we would like from the dining hall (General Tso’s Chicken, the panini sandwiches, and funnel cakes are his favorites) we have break time after lunch to play a pick up game of basketball in the Estes Center or hang out with our friends before class. We can get extra help after class if we need it or get a jump start on homework before sports practice.

One of my favorite stories that reflects the above described freedom, occurred right after a big snow storm. My son told me, “Today was the best day ever. After lunch, we had a huge snowball fight and went sledding down hills during our break—it was so much fun!” (With a huge grin on his face)

I believe his description of “freedom” translates to a gratefulness that he still gets to be a kid, a boy, a teenager—but one with rules, accountability and expectations. A freedom that is not found in many schools these days.

A personal favorite story of mine is probably not one of his favorites. After basketball practice, my son walked into the Commandant’s office to sign out. It took him about five minutes to return. When he returned, he was winded. I told him, he was either getting sick or out of shape, there was no reason for him to be winded and breathing heavy from walking up a slight incline to my car. He said “Mom, I forgot to tuck my shirt in my basketball shorts and I had to do 50 burpees! My shirt won’t be untucked again!”

My son currently has the best grades he’s ever had in school but more importantly, he understands the content because he can be more focused with the smaller class sizes.

We are incredibly happy and grateful for the education and life skills that our son is receiving at FUMA. Fork Union is a school that understands boys and what they need to thrive.

Mother of a Day Student

The Covid-19 pandemic was a bane and a blessing. When I had to oversee homeschooling, I got first-hand experience of the challenges my son and his teachers must have had for years.

Ever since I can remember, we dreaded parent-teacher meetings. We would hear, "Your son's grades don't match his ability or intelligence. He's very engaging and smart, but..." For our son, having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) means that he procrastinates, does not routinely complete tasks like homework or classwork, and frequently moves from one uncompleted activity to another. Some teachers in his regular high school understood this. Some did not. All of them could not make enough concessions or accommodations to show his true learning because of the constraints of the education system. At the end of the school year 2020, he failed most of his classes and looked at an even fuller load the next school year. We knew something had to change; he did too.

We enrolled him in Fork Union Military Academy. We chose it after seeing so many YouTube videos that touted the benefits of the one-subject program and the school. The promise of focus, structure, and accomplishment came through. He passed all his classes in this, his first year, a sophomore at FUMA. He would tell you he is most proud that he scored 100% on the finals of two of his classes. He would say that he did so because he studied hard and came prepared.

We took advantage of their academic success program. There he found continuous support and cheers! They found novel approaches to reach him, took the time to learn about him, and flexed their approaches. I have been concerned in the past about the ability of teachers who are not Black to 'see my son' as an individual. At FUMA, they know him, challenge him to be his best, hold him accountable, and motivate him.

I am proud of what he has done this year. As a testament to the place, he is looking forward to going back in the Fall - he's proud that he's earned a promotion in rank and knows he can do even better academically. Amazing.

As I reflect on the past year, I am thankful that the circumstances made me aware of what my son needed. I am happy that we found FUMA. My son is finally in an environment that rewards accomplishments in academics, sports, and character. I am proud that my son made the best of his opportunity, worked hard, and finally has a report card that reflects his ability and effort.

Mrs. K. Joseph, A (2020-21) Parent

Our son is completing his first year at Fork Union. We sent him away to school during a pandemic. We sent him away to school after a difficult move from his home country, not knowing anyone here in the United States. We sent him away as a boy who was unsure of himself and painfully shy. We were so afraid to send him away from us knowing all the serious challenges he would be facing. Our hearts were broken watching him leave knowing we wouldn't see him for months on end, knowing we could only talk to him for a short time each day.

Laith will be coming home to us for the summer, no longer a boy, but as a young man confident in who he is. We are receiving a young man who is future looking for the first time in his life. He will arrive home a young man who found value in himself.

He is tired. He is aching to be with his family. He is exhausted from the year, but he knows he is better for the hard work and dedication that he has put into this year.

We are exceptionally proud of Laith and all of his hard work. His straight A average, his quick rise in rank, his effort to move out of his comfort zone to join sports he didn't know how to play are all reasons that we are proud of him. All of these things pale in comparison to the pride we feel seeing the man inside him. He cares about equality for everyone. He cares about being a gentleman and treating others with respect. He takes seriously his responsibilities. He knows how to communicate and strive for independence. These are the true mark of a man. These are the qualities and values which we are so proud to see in our son. It will be our great joy to watch him grow even more confident in the years to come.

A current parent
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Alumni Stories

Feb. 01, 2021

TJ Cantwell - Class of 2001

I ended up at Fork Union as my third high school in 1999 and graduated in 2001. This was not what I was thinking would happen with my high school career, but it was a necessity. To me, Fork Union was the best and worst place to be. No teenage boy wants to go away […]
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