The Citadel is combining two big events for cadets the weekend of March 17 – 19, Corps Day and Recognition Day. The school website mentions three events which includes the Leadership Symposium. Since most families who come to town do so to see the Summerall Guards ceremony on Saturday morning, and this year for Recognition Day, I’ll focus on those two events.
The schedules are available online for the weekend. For a more detailed schedule for activities parents will want to attend, go to the parents page of the school website and read through the Corps and Recognition Day 2017 page.
Tips for parents of Bond Volunteers and Summerall Guards:
The crowd begins to form on the parade field about 30 minutes before the scheduled ceremony. The schedule lists the time as 8:45 – 9:45am. So arriving by 8:15am to find your preferred spot along the roped off area is a good idea.
Be sure to ask your cadet where they will be as they march onto the field to know if you should be on the side closest to the barracks or the other side closer to Chapel side of the field. For instance my son was the 5th squad back on the end closest to the barracks side of the field. We stood at the roped off area closest to the 2nd battalion across the walk way from where General and Mrs. Rosa sit for parades. (Of course cadets and grads will refer to theses areas and line up for the Summerall Guards by their proper terms. Since I’m a mom and not a grad I’ve developed my own way to describe the areas to help other parents know where to stand.)
Another must is insect repellant for the morning. The entire ceremony only lasts about 20 minutes or so but after it is over you’ll want to snap photos with your cadet. It is a bit of a scramble after it ends. Ask your cadet the best way to find them after the ceremony ends. Many of them will be talking with the Summerall Guard whose rifle they now carry and receiving their Summerall Guard patch.
Most years they’ve had a luncheon for the Summerall Guards after the parade. It is at the luncheon where we purchased out Summerall Guards parent t-shirt. It is a fundraiser for them to help with expenses. Check with your cadet for the plans for this year.
Tips for parents of the Class of 2020:
The schedule this year is completely different from previous years since Recognition Day has been moved from April to the same weekend as Corps Day. Stories from parents of upperclass cadets of what they did on Recognition Day won’t really apply to your experience this year.
This weekend is not like Parents Weekend where the emphasis is on spending time together. The Recognition Day part of the weekend is really about the Class of 2020 and their time together, parents while welcome to watch are not the focus. If you are planning to be in town, remember you may not see your cadet Friday afternoon and evening. They have meetings and will need to get their rooms in inspection order for the open barracks Saturday morning. If they do have time off to see you for dinner consider it a bonus visit.
Saturday will be jam-packed with activities. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the day. Look over the schedule to see just how busy you’ll be and make your plans for lunch based on your family.
The barracks open at 8:00am. Check with your son or daughter to see if they want any food brought to them. They will have a VERY strenuous workout after the parade so they may not want anything too heavy.
The Rifle Legion and the Summerall Guards will perform on the parade field that morning. Check with your cadet to see if they will be attending both or either of those events. My son’s senior mentor was a Summerall Guard so he wanted to see that ceremony.
After the Summerall Guards exchange rifles the Corps of Cadets must prepare for the 10:00 parade. This would be a good time to have a light snack. The Canteen will be open but to avoid lines you may want to pack your own snacks or lunch. You’ll also have time after the parade and before the Gauntlet begins to grab something to eat or sit in the reception room in Mark Clark Hall between events.
The Gauntlet begins at 11:30. It is a series of physical challenges the 4th Class cadets go through together by company. They will be either on the parade field or the WLI field. Some years the school posts a map. I haven’t seen it posted yet. To get an idea of how Recognition Day was handled in the past I’ve found the PowerPoint from 2015 on the website.
The past several years after the gauntlet is over and the 4th class cadets are in the barracks and hear the announcement “The 4th Class System is no longer in effect.” The newly recognized cadets would come out to give a hug to their family members. The timing is very tight this year and the cadets may not have time to come out. The training schedule has the cookout in the barracks beginning at 1320 and the hygiene time to get ready for the retaking of the oath on the parade ground at 3:00. The March is on the schedule for 1500.
If you haven’t ordered a meal through the school (the ordering time frame has past), pack a lunch or eat in the Canteen the school.
Cadets who saved an overnight and followed the protocol can take one Saturday night. Most of the cadets are too exhausted to want to do much Saturday night. If you want to go out for a nice meal Sunday is the better day to do that.
I’ll be helping my youngest daughter at her high school musical that weekend so I’ll have to miss the excitement. I look forward to seeing everyone’s photos. Next year I’ll have my own college freshman, just not a knob at The Citadel.
Filed under: cadets, Corps Day Weekend, Parents, Recognition Day, Summerall Guards, The Citadel, Uncategorized | Tagged: Marion Square, Recognition Day, Summerall Guards, Summerall Guards Parent t-shirt | Leave a comment »
Many parents have asked if there is a traditional gift to mark this milestone. While there isn’t one “have to get” item, over the years many families have given their 4th Class cadet a company t-shirt from the campus bookstore to mark the occasion.
In the past few years an alumnus has offered a special Recognition Day t-Shirt. The sales benefit the Col Harvey M. Dick, ’53 Memorial Ring Endowment. A photo of the shirt is below and it is available on the Senior Private Etsy site. Sunday, February 20 is the last day to order this shirt.
The decision what to give a 4th Class cadet, if anything, is up to each family. What is really important is the pride they will feel in accomplishing the toughest goal they have faced to date.
Parents of the Class of 2018: Your cadets have ordered their rings and gotten their blazers. It won’t be long until the BVA’s find out if they are Summerall Guards. In less than ten months from now you’ll be attending Parents/Ring Weekend!
A few notes:
- If your cadet is a Summerall Guard, do attend Corps Day Weekend. That is when they will transition from Bond Volunteers to Summerall Guards.
- Find out where your cadet will be as they march onto the field Saturday morning and find your place along the roped off area early to get good photos. My son was on the side closest to the stands (versus on the chapel side of the field) we stood along the rope in front of the stands closest to the walkway from 2nd battalion.
- Looking ahead to ring weekend, make your hotel or house reservation early. Get cancellation insurance if you rent a house as we learned this past fall with hurricane season anything can happen.
- I’ve written quite a lot about Ring Weekend and posted plenty of photos to show moms in particular what to wear Friday evening. In short, the ring presentation in the afternoon business dress is appropriate (you’ll see more casual attire too) the evening ring ceremony traditionally moms wear a formal gown since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. Moms, wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be standing in a line for your turn through the ring.
- You do not need tickets for the afternoon ring presentation or the evening ring ceremony.
- The field house fills up quickly for the presentation so get to your seats early. As your friends with sophomore or junior cadets to take photos/video of the march into the field house and have them stationed at the chapel where the cadets knock on the chapel door with their rings.
- After they receive their rings families should go to the barracks. The seniors run into the battalion have a sparking cider toast and throw the glasses at the company letter. If you are stationed at a sallyport with a view of the letter and a zoom lens you can get some photos. In 2010 my husband got permission ahead of time from the TAC officer to be in the battalion to take photos which we shared with everyone in the company afterward.
- After the toast the seniors will come out of the barracks for congratulations and photos. The Summerall Guards have to practice. Most others have the afternoon off.
- The school will post the schedule of when each company goes through the ring Friday night. If your cadet’s company has a time from 6 – 8 you can have dinner after you go through the ring. Bravo went through at 8:30 so our group of 30+ had dinner at 5:30.
- Family and friends who are with you Friday night will go sit in the stands and wait for the cadet and mom/date/other guest to go through the ring. Once you walk through the ring your party will leave the field house.
- Saturday of Ring Weekend is a regular football day, but with open barracks Saturday morning. Most cadets appreciate families bringing breakfast to them in the barracks that morning.
- Keep a camera handy. Senior cadets smile more on Ring Weekend than any other time. It all goes by so quickly. If you have family or friends with you consider asking them to be the designated photographer for the family.
See the links at the end of this post for more photos:
Each year in February the questions from a variety of parents pick up. The senior parents are looking toward graduation and commissioning. I’ve added a few notes about the end of the year below.
Keep an eye out for the updated graduation schedule. I checked this morning and the 2016 schedule of events is still posted. You can use that schedule as a guideline for this year but watch for updates. A few general notes:
- Tickets are limited. For the past several years each cadet gets 8 tickets. They can put their name in a lottery for extras but that is not guaranteed. Sometimes they can get a few from classmates who won’t use their allotment.
- Since tickets are limited to graduation some families rent a house and have the graduation live stream connected to a large screen TV for the guests who can’t be at the event.
- It is traditional to send out announcements for college graduation. Again traditionally announcements are sent to anyone who would want to know about this big life event. They are sent out the week of or after graduation. The recipient is not obligated to send a gift when they receive an announcement. It is a good time to announce the commissioning of a graduate who is entering the armed forces. You can also put a card with the new contact information for the graduate since they will no longer use the school’s address to receive mail. These small cards are referred to as “at home” cards to indicate the graduate will be at their new home after a certain date. The tradition of an at home card is an old one and has changed over time as to the meaning. You can read the history here.
- Many families use the online announcement company Signature. They are nice quality, but a better price than what Balfour offers.
- Commissioning services happen the Friday before graduation. Be in touch with your senior for the updated details on the ceremony. It is traditional for the newly commissioned second lieutenant to give the person who renders their first salute a silver dollar. You can usually find them online.
- For those commissioning they will have to order and pay for their dress uniform. That process is usually started by now. The expense surprises many parents.
- The seniors have to be out of the barracks by Thursday night of graduation week, unless they’ve requested and received an exception. Be sure you plan for this when making your accommodation reservations.
- Many families give their graduate a Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. There is a special luncheon for the new Lifetime members during graduation week.
- Like most big weekends, graduation weekend is a time of great activity. Dress for the weather and for comfort in walking. If the weather is warm many ladies wear light dresses for the commissioning service and long gray line parade. The gentleman wear jacket and tie for the commissioning and more casual attire for the afternoon parade. For graduation, business attire is appropriate, a dress or nice slacks for the ladies and jacket and tie for the gentleman.
- Saturday morning arrive at the field house for graduation early to find a seat. In 2011 we were given assigned seats. The past several years it is open seating. Saving seats is discouraged. If you have young children attending, bring quiet distractions for them like coloring books and light snacks. The ceremony lasts about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. I played The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo” with my daughter who was in 6th grade at the time her brother graduated. We had a list of my son’s friends and she tried to find them as they sat waiting for their name to be called.
- Have a plan of where you are to meet after the ceremony. Some families meet on the floor of the field house some meet outside the building. It is helpful to have a plan ahead of time.
Previous posts about graduation:
Filed under: cadets, Parents, Senior military colleges, The Citadel, Uncategorized | Tagged: Citadel Alumni Association, commissioning, Graduation, Lifetime Membership, silver coin, The Citadel | Leave a comment »