Playing Catch Up and Parents Weekend at The Citadel

2014 Bravo Promotion Ceremony

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

Catching up

It’s been over a month since my last entry. After the very emotional experience as a juror for a murder trial, the sad news of a cancer diagnosis for one of the Top Nine Cadets at The Citadel was released. After corresponding with his family a YouCaring fundraising site was launch for Jesse Ray Nardone. The original goal of $10,000 was reached within days. you can read about the needs the family has to cover and updates on Jesse Ray’s health on the YouCaring site.

A week or so after the fundraising site was posted, I had a scheduled cardiac catheter ablation. It is taking me a little longer than I had anticipated to bounce back after the procedure. Fortunately I feel pretty well, but I just don’t have the stamina to do too much yet.

Parents Weekend at The Citadel

For my readers who are Citadel parents this is an exciting week. By now I hope you have seen the very helpful information posted to the parent page on the web site. In years past I’ve written a run down of the vents each day of Parents Weekend. Thanks to Capt. Taylor Skardon in the office of the provost that was not necessary this year. There is an overall post and individual pages for each day, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Citadel Family Association (CFA) has also revamped their website with helpful information. Be sure to read the pages and click on all the links.

The weather is looking iffy thanks to hurricane Matthew. Be sure to watch the weather channels to know how to pack. Also check the school web site for any announcements should the storm end up tracking toward the SC coast. It is still early to know what will happen weather wise. The school administrators keep a close eye on weather conditions and will post updates as they can so watch The Citadel website, the school’s Facebook page and the Bulldog Alert page. To read the school’s protocol for hurricanes see this link.

I won’t be making the trip to Charleston for Parents Weekend this year. Our daughter is a high school senior and it is her last Homecoming celebration. I look forward to seeing everyone’s photos and hearing your stories. Best wishes to the Class of 2017 on receiving your rings on Friday.

Ring Presentation 2014

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

For the families of 2020 cadet recruits enjoy every minute of your time together it goes by in a blink of an eye.

Previous posts about Parents Weekend (see these links for photos):

Parents Weekend 2015

Parents Weekend 2014 and 2014 Tips

Parents Weekend 2012

Parents Weekend Tips 2011


I bid on and won the opportunity to shoot the cannon at halftime of the football game Oct 2014. My daughter was there for moral supportūüėČ ¬†photo by Michael Givens



Justice and Grace


The view from the new jury room at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta

The past week I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on these two words, Justice and Grace. I served on a jury for a murder trial. This blog site is mainly for my posts to parents of cadets at The Citadel, but today I must reflect on the events of the past week, in large part to help me move forward.

If you follow this blog for Citadel related information, you will want to skip reading this entry.

Jury Selection

On August 29 I reported for jury duty. I’m one of those strange people that don’t mind being called and I was looking forward to the day. In the past ten years I’ve reported for jury duty several times but have never served on a jury. So, with a book in hand I reported to the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta to spend what I thought would be a day of sitting in the jury holding room.

The morning started out well. I met a lady in the security line form my town who also has a student at the same high school as my daughter. We took our seats near a podium by a window over looking the state capitol, quite an improvement over the old jury room.

My first clue that this would not be an ordinary day came when the Judge entered the room to welcome the potential jurors. I looked up and a few feet to my right stood Judge Jane Barwick. I first met Jane when she served on the board of directors of Simpsonwood a retreat center for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. I was the director of marketing and development and Jane was on my committee of the board. After my daughter was born I ran into Jane again. This time she was a recently enrolled student at Columbia Theological Seminary. So seeing my long time friend that morning seemed like a fun way to start the day.

Shortly after the welcome by Jane they called the first group of names to report to a courtroom. Since I was in a stand by group I really didn’t think I would be called. Surprise! I was juror #52 out of 60 called in that first group.

Once we filed into the courtroom we were instructed to hold the laminated number that corresponded with the one we were given when our names were called. The judge introduced us to the prosecution and the defense lawyers and explained how the selection process would begin. We were told it is a murder trial and mentioned it was in the news a couple of years prior. The attorneys began with their questions. Since the deceased was a three year old who died in daycare many of the questions had to do with caring for children. As the mom of three who has worked both as a volunteer and an employee of a church I had quite a few opportunities to work with children so my number was raised quite a bit. At this point I hoped that would mean I wouldn’t be called. I just wasn’t sure how I would react being on a jury that dealt with the death of a small child.

There was a lot of waiting around on Monday. Once the questions were asked in the large group of 60, the judge began calling us in in groups of 6 to be questioned one at a time. To help speed up the process he called about 20 of us to stay and released the others to return Tuesday morning. The ones who stayed, including me, all had potential conflicts if the trial ran long. I have a heart ablation scheduled for September 13 and decided I better say something in case it ran long.

The judge called me into the courtroom shortly before 5:00. It was a relief to get up from the hard wooden benches outside the courtroom and sit in a comfortable chair. The judge and attorneys get a list with our names and occupations so when I came into the courtroom the judge addressed me as Reverend. I told him I preferred Ms. When he asked what my potential conflict is I told him of the September 13 procedure. He said the trial would be over by then, but hoped my procedure would be successful. That was my first glimpse at the judges compassion.

The prosecution then began with their questions followed by the defense. Right from the start the styles of each set of attorneys was evident. The prosecution was polished and professional in their approach, the defense was congenial and struck me like they stepped out of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. All that was missing from the defense was seersucker suits and bow ties. The questioning ended and I was told to return at 11:00 am Tuesday morning.

The interviews were still going on when I arrived at 11:00. We were released for lunch by 11:30. Once we were called back into the courtroom it was apparent quite a few jurors had been dismissed and the jury would be called from the group that remained. The ladies on either side of me appeared nervous. The one to my right was visibly shaking. She was the mother of young children and dreaded the thought of sitting on a jury for the death of a small boy. I offered her a hug and a mint which she accepted graciously.

The names of the jurors were called. One at a time the new jury took their seat in the jury box. I counted as they were called hoping they would get to 13 before my name was called, no such luck. “Number 52,” was called out and up I went to take a seat in the jury box. The judge gave us our instructions and dismissed us to the jury room where began to get to know the people we would spend our days with all last week.

After writing our first names down on a make shift name card we eventually went around the table giving our name and a little about ourselves. We were a diverse but friendly group. We all had a feeling this would not be an easy task ahead.

The Trial

The trial began with opening statements. Our initial impressions of the prosecution were confirmed as Pete Johnson began his statements. He was organized spoke without notes and used a PowerPoint for the statements he wanted to emphasize. John Garland for the defense spoke using a three ring binder with yellow sticky notes for his opening statement. Since I majored in public speaking and went to seminary which included classes on sermon preparation and delivery I tend to notice these things.

The first witness was the Alpharetta police officer who responded to the 911 call. In looking at my notes I didn’t write much down while he spoke. That changed the next day, Wednesday. The first witness on Wednesday was Heidi Stephens, mother of Max, the deceased three year old little boy. When the jury was called into the courtroom I saw who was in the witness stand and began to take some deep breathes in preparation for a tough day. I’ve had to handle tough situations as a chaplain resident at the VA. Preparing to hear the testimony of the young mother of this precious little boy was similar to preparing myself to console grieving family members after a death. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breathes and prayed for discernment, compassion, and a clear mind.

The judge was very compassionate. After Mrs. Stephens testimony the judge dismissed us to the jury room. Judge Newkirk did this each time we listened to difficult testimony from witnesses. I will forever be grateful to him for his compassion and grace. While the jury could not discuss what we heard until after the final arguments we could acknowledge it was hard to listen to the witnesses.

Wednesday was a very long day. In addition to Mrs. Stephens we heard from the first detective from Alpharetta reviewed the timeline of events and listened to tapes of his interviews with the defendant. Then Tahisha Smith from Bright From the Start was called as a witness followed by a second detective from Alpharetta. By the end of the day I felt we were very clear on the timeline of events and just how awful it was to find a small child strangled on a slide. I believe the entire jury was ready to start asking each other questions, but we had to wait until after the closing arguments. For me it was clear by Wednesday afternoon that the defendant did not check on the children on the play-set before she went inside. The defense’s arguments underscored that for me. The toughest day for me was to come.

Thursday the second detective was back on the stand. The timeline from July 8 was gone through with a fine tooth comb at this point. The interviews with the defendant showed that it was not clear when she went inside the house leaving the children outside, but to me it was very clear she never checked on the two children who were on the play-set either while she was outside or when she went inside. The defendant stated over and over that she has watched children for 30 years without incident and that she felt this is the work God called her to do. She seemed like a sweet lady, but to me on July 8 of 2014 she was not attentive to the children in her charge.

The hardest most emotional part of the week for me was when the 911 tape was played in full. Listening to the desperation in the voice of the day care provider and envisioning that sweet little boy laying on the ground after being released from the twine that hung him proved too much for me. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes but didn’t want to cry while in the jury box. I had to wipe a few tears away while we were still sitting there, but fortunately the judge dismissed us to our room right after the tape ended. It was there that my emotions just poured out. As I stood by my chair opening crying, my fellow jurors brought me tissues, and a cup of water. I stepped to an area away from the table to compose myself and another juror came up to comfort me. Just thinking about that tape will still bring a lump to my throat.

The next witness was the forensic pathologist, Dr. Stauffenberg. She was calm cool and collected as she described the injuries to little Max. I couldn’t help but think she looked like she was straight out of central casting to play her professional role. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so. In his closing arguments Pete Johnson for the prosecution said something like, “There is a reason some doctors work with the living and some work with the dead,” when he talked about the doctor.

The photos of little Max in the morgue were tough to look at, and we had to look at several views of his neck and face area. I couldn’t help but think of how awful it was for the Stephens family to have to review all of this evidence two years after their precious son’s death, but they were in the court room each day with people who appeared to be the grandparents of Max.

The final witness was Juan Medina, the landscaper who put down the mulch and pine straw. His young son was in the courtroom listening. From his testimony it was evident that the defendant bent the truth in some of her statements to the police, but his testimony really didn’t change any of the evidence we were charged to weigh for a verdict.

I went home Thursday just emotionally drained.

The closing arguments were Friday morning and by lunchtime the jury was dismissed to the deliberation room. Our first task was to select a foreman. I had offered early in the week before we knew each other. I had said that if no one else wanted to serve as foreman I would volunteer. The group voted and I was elected foreman. Our deliberations began right away with a short break for the group to order pizza and salad in. The judge brought the pizza, salad and change in himself but made it clear he could not and would not talk to us.

From the start we wrestled with the wording of the four charges. Charges #2 and #4 clearly dealt with whether the defendant knew the rope, or twine was in the back yard. All twelve jurors voted that we did not believe she knew the twine was there. Charges #1 and #3 were not as clear. It read that we would have to find her guilty of being willful, wanton and reckless leading to the death of Max, but it did not mention the rope. We sent the judge three notes for clarification. The third note read something like, “Is knowledge of the rope by the defendant required to find the defendant guilty on count #1 then I wrote a Yes/No and asked him to circle the answer, I wrote the same thing for charges #2-4. The judge answered by circling yes for all 4 counts. In the end the answer to our questions was that to find the defendant guilty of the charges we had to believe she had knowledge of the rope in the backyard.

Most, not all, of the jurors really felt she should be found guilty of reckless behavior since she did not check on the children on the play-set. It was extremely hard to say the defendant was not guilty when we felt that she held the responsibility for not being attentive enough to very small children.

The defense mentioned writing on the back of the official statement how we felt. On the front I wrote not guilty for all four counts. On the back of the judgement I wrote on behalf of the whole jury (we each had a part in composing the note):

“We the jury are disappointed and frustrated with the charges brought by the State. While we found the defendant negligent i leaving young children unattended, we cannot find her guilty of criminal negligence as required by the charges.”

The jury entered the courtroom. I couldn’t look at the family as I walked in. I was wrestling with the verdict and the feeling that the family would be so disappointed. I was relieved that the judge read the verdict after I handed in the paper. To his credit the judge read our note to the courtroom too. You can see this moment on this clip.

After the trial

The jury was dismissed to our room and we were asked if we would stay to meet with the attorneys from both sides. It was there that we learned the defendant had her license revoked and the family had received a financial settlement from early litigation. Not that money will ever replace a child but at least we knew the defendant would not be able to watch children again. Since she felt called to her work as a child care provider I know this had to be the worse punishment after seeing Max dead that she could receive.

One of my fellow jurors parked in the deck where I parked and offered to walk with me out of the building. I had a lump in my throat and appreciated his kindness and his company. He guided me out as I was asked for a comment by Valerie Hoff of 11Alive the Atlanta NBC affiliate. I just couldn’t talk right then. I knew I’d be too emotional. My friend gently guided me past the cameras.

Once I reached my car I took a few minutes to let the tears flow. I spoke briefly to the lady in the parking garage who takes your money at the end of the day. I had teased her all week that she was a popular lady because people lined up to see her each day. That is when I saw something I will always remember.

Ed Garland one of the defense attorneys was talking to a man who appeared to be homeless in a wheel chair. Mr. Garland placed his two satchels against the planters outside the courthouse and pushed the gentleman in the wheel chair across the street. The man I thought earlier in the week would look natural in seersucker and a bow tie showed he is a true Southern gentleman and showed his true compassion that evening.

I did end up talking to Valerie Hoff on Tuesday after the trial ended Friday. I felt it was important for people to know how tough it was for all of us. It helped me to process a few days later, just as writing this out is helpful.

Valerie asked me if I thought justice was served. That questions stays with me. I know we carried out our task and followed the guidelines we were given. But when a small child is dead and you think it was due in large part to the negligence of another person, is justice really served?

Then Wednesday the most grace filled message I have ever received appeared in my Facebook messenger inbox. I saw it was from Jeff Stephens, Max’s Dad and I took a deep breath. This man who lost his young son showed such strength, caring, and grace I will always remember him.

“Dorie, thank you for taking the time to speak to the media regarding the verdict. I know that must have been difficult for you. Thank you for your service.
Jeff Stephens – Max’s Dad”

The judge sent a thank you note the week after the trial.

Notes for New Citadel Families


A newly shaved Knob next to the statue of General Mark Clark

Challenge Week is almost over for the Class of 2020. It is a challenge for many parents who are used to regular communication with their son or daughter. This is the week when the new parents are initiated into the time honored tradition of scouring social media in the hope of finding a glimpse of their knob, or as I like to call it The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo.”

For many families their attention is now moving to Parents Weekend and visits with their cadet recruit. This leads to questions about when knobs can go off campus and when are the best times to visit.

According to the Matriculation Day¬†presentation by General Rosa and Captain Paluso knobs can get off campus for their first general leave August 27. It is a great time for the knobs to get off campus with their new classmates and begin to make memories together. I know each family is different so I won’t tell anyone not to visit, but I will say this, if your student was at another college would you get in your car to go spend the day with them? Let them bond and make memories together. If you do go bring another cadet or two with you for a meal. you’ll enjoy their stories.

Parents’ Weekend is October 7 – 9 this year. Once the schedule of events is posted to the school website I’ll write more about this special weekend. In the meantime you can get an idea of what it is like by reading this previous post. For travel arrangements, keep in mind the knobs can get off campus Friday afternoon around 1:00pm and on Sunday they can stay off campus until about 6:00. This is a huge weekend on campus for the knobs who are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates. It is also a huge weekend for the seniors who receive their rings on Friday afternoon. If you haven’t already be sure to get your hotel arrangements settled. You can see this link for some hotel suggestions. AirBnB also has some great options in the area.

When it comes to visiting knob year it is helpful to keep a few things in mind. Knobs want to sleep and eat with they get off campus. Getting to watch TV and just relax is a big treat. Don’t expect them to want to do sight-seeing around town this first year. The major weekends are fun to visit but you don’t get much time with your cadet recruit. If you visit on the Open weekend, that means they do not have a Saturday Morning Inspection (SMI) and can spend Friday evening with you until midnight, Saturday most of the day and Sunday most of the day. The Open weekends for the fall are, Sept 2-4; Sept 16 – 18; Sept 30 – Oct 2; Oct. 21 – 23, and for knobs not on ROTC scholarships, Sept. 23 – 25; and Nov 11 – 13. The ROTC scholarship cadets have training weekends these two weekends. To see the full schedule for the entire year go to the Yearly Planning Calendar on this page. Open means that qualified upperclass cadets can put in for overnights. Closed Weekends means all cadets must be in the barracks each night at the designated time on the training schedule.

Be sure to read through the new and improved parent webpage, especially the section for Freshman parents and the Challenge Week section .

For readers who are not 2020 Parents, you can see the photos I’ve taken from Matriculation Weekend on Facebook here:

Matriculation Day, 2016

Matriculation Sunday

Matriculation Sunday Evening

Challenge Week – Monday

Oath Ceremony


Members of the Class of 2020 prepare to take the cadet oath.

What type of Citadel Parent are You?

Another knob reports

A member of the Class of 2016 checks in matriculation morning.

In the days leading up to Matriculation Day new parents fall into a few different categories.

The first group is the ones who shopped early.They know their student is going to the school of their choice. While they know they will miss seeing their student the parent understands this is the natural next step in their son or daughter’s road to adulthood. From my experience with new parents this group of parents lay low and don’t post much to Facebook, they read the posts, take what they need and ignore what they don’t. These families tend to be the ones who leave the packing and other preparations to their student aiding as needed. They are also the minority.

The second group of parents are the ones who have read everything at least a zillion times, and join all the related the Facebook groups that they can. Focusing on the Success Packet List and the Nice to Have list tends to be a distraction for this group. They focus on all the items trying to make sure they get everything exactly right. This group tends to be proud of their students decision, but they are very nervous. Being connected with other parents and going over the lists keeps them busy and not obsessed with the fact their child is going to enter one of the most challenging experiences of their young lives.

The third group falls somewhere between groups one or two. They join the Facebook groups, but only ask an occasional question. This group goes from very certain they’ve done what they can to prepare their student to report, but will still visit the lists on occasion.

Families have so many questions before Matriculation Day because it is a huge unknown for them. What I’d like for these parents to know is that there is no one right answer to many of their questions. There are some suggestions that apply to more knobs than others.

Bravo Company lining up with their cadre members or as i like to call them, "The Hospitality Committee"

A member of the Class of 2016 checks in Matriculation morning.

For instance, one general rule is to show up with what is on the Success Packet list and what you’d like to bring from the Nice to have List, but do not bring anything that is not on either list. Once your student arrives and gets into their company they will learn that their company has a certain way that particular company does things. It is best to hold off on extras. You can mail them later if they want them. The other thing to remember is that the Cadet Store carries everything they need.

Another thing for all parents to realize is The Citadel is a leadership college. There is a system in place to train the cadets to be leaders. Many of the ways this is accomplished seem odd or illogical for a non-grad or non-military person.

I know it was very hard for me to see the reasoning behind many things they do on campus. I’ve learned from observing all these years that I don’t have to know everything. My son was the one who went through it. He chose this school and it was exactly the place he needed to be. If your child decided this is where they want to spend their college years, they have what it takes to get through it. They will learn the rules and how to succeed.

Once your student is on campus the roles reverse a bit. Parents of knobs have to learn that they will not drive their student’s schedules and how things are done. The knob will have to inform the parents where and what time they can meet them for example. Many times the knobs do not have any control what so ever of their time. They may say they can meet at one time, but then a cadre member, or later, an upperclassmen, will have a task for them to complete before they can leave the battalion. It can be frustrating if you are visiting from out-of-town, but understand this is what life as a knob is like. parents have to learn to be patient and just “Go with the flow.”

The days leading up to Matriculation Day are stressful, but remember each year hundreds of families go through it. Take the next several days and enjoy being with your son or daughter.

Within about 10 days after drop off you’ll hear from them and your questions will change from what to pack to what do you want or need.

Once classes start the most important question for parents to ask their knob is, “How are your studies.” I’ll address that a bit more in a couple of weeks. For now enjoy your time together.

Citadel Parents: Let it Go!


Family and friends outside the barracks. Matriculation Day 2015

Parents, you won’t want to hear this, but you’ll never get it all right. No knob ever does anything right. As parents you can only do your best to get what is on the lists and then as the song goes, “Let it Go!”

I have not been a knob. I have however watched each year as parents sweat over the Success Packet list and the Nice to Have List. I get it. I really do. You want to do what you can to make sure your son or daughter has what they need to succeed. The secret is, if you’ve done your job as a parent, regardless of whether they have the right plastic bins and other items, your son or daughter has the strength and confidence to handle what will come their way.

The Citadel is a leadership school. The students attend this school because they expect to be challenged. They know, or should know, they are expected to own their successes and learn from their failures. You’ve given them a firm foundation to launch into their adult years. It is your time to step back and let them take control of their life.

If you wonder if they should bring something, ask your student if they want it. If they don’t leave it at home. While the school does issue lists and some things are permitted like coffee maker, computer printer, some basic snacks, some knobs do not want to have them. It should be their decision, not your as to whether they bring them or not. Families with friends that are current cadets, you’ll get advice from those friends but remember they will speak from their experience. While uniformity is more of the norm the cadets do develop their own preferences of what to bring and how to do their tasks. For instance if you ask five people whether they should bring a printer you’ll get five different answers.

The 4th Class system will teach the knobs to pull together as a team. They will make their own decisions. They will face the consequences of their actions or inaction. You cannot do this for them and you should not try.

You can be their sounding board. Listen to them vent, but don’t get caught up in the ups and downs of knob life. Remind them of their strengths. Remind them that they are prepared to meet the challenge. You can remind them to think through the processes to solve their own problems. It is a tough year, but they, and you, will have plenty of support.

If you are the parent of a knob, join the Facebook group for 2020 parents and the Citadel Family Association Facebook group. Follow the school Facebook page and the Citadel Photography page.

Five Days and a Wake up until Matriculation Day. You’ve got this. Let Go and enjoy the ride.

If you haven’t already, see these links about Matriculation Day:

What to Expect on Matriculation Day

An interview with Capt. Geno Paluso

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that First Day

The Citadel: A Visual of the First Few Days



The Citadel: Parent Information for Starting the Year

IMG_4006 (1)

A member of the class of 2019 turns in his cell phone to the first sergeant on Matriculation Day 2015.

A few parents in the Facebook group for 2020 parents have joined this week. We are now at 497 members of the group. All members are 2020 parents along with five parents of grads who help answer questions.

Most Matriculation Day and Weekend information can be found on the school website and this blog, but to make it easier to find I’ll include a few links here:

The Matriculation Headquarters page has the essential information. Read every link and all hyper links on the pages.

The Commandant’s Matriculation Information page is linked on the Matriculation Headquarters page and also has essential information.

My previous blog post about Matriculation Weekend includes some tips for parents.

Saturday, August 13 at 5:30 there is a dinner planned for 2020 families. The Charleston Citadel Club is hosting the event and allowing us to use their registration system. Advance reservations are required, Register HERE. Just enter Parent of Student from the drop down menu when it asks for Company name. Members of The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Alumni Association are also helping with the event.

The Citadel main web site has a page for parents which includes helpful information including this page titled What to expect on Matriculation Day.

Another important link on the parents page of the school web site is for all parents and cadets to review titled Important Conversations to have with incoming Freshman and Upper Class.

The Useful Links page on the parent’s page is also a good one to book mark.

On this blog site there is a page called Helpful Web Links to help you find the web pages parents use most often as well as helpful blog posts.

Book mark this entry for easy reference later. Enjoy the time you have left with your soon-to-be knob. You’ve got this.

The Citadel: Small Changes


Members of the Class of 2019 “meet” the cadre on Matriculation Day 2015. The crew length socks that have been the mark of a knob for a few years are no longer approved for unit PT.

When my son decided to attend a military college, I never imagined that years after he graduated I would be answering questions about socks, underwear, and shoes.

Many alumni don’t understand the changes that have taken place over the years. Communications have changed over the years for everyone. For instance at The Citadel the paperwork cadets used to fill out is all done online now.

The families helping their soon-to-be knob prepare for the new year use online searches to find the required items to matriculate. They also resource with other parents.¬†Instead of running out to K-Mart, Target, and Wal-Mart for items, more and more people are purchasing the required items online. Families are connected online via Facebook. Not to hover, but to share tips on saving money. Shoes are at least $100 a pair the boots ¬†are more expensive. With out of state tuition over $40,000 a year any way to save some money on required items is welcomed. Don’t even get me started on the elusive plastic bins. The school posts the sizes of two clear plastic bins they are allowed to have. Unfortunately the sizes are listed as “no larger than” and you can’t easily find boxes that are close to the dimensions.

This year a small change that is causing a BIG stir is the change from crew socks to ankle socks for all cadets for unit PT. For years, I don’t know exactly how long, knobs were required to wear white crew length socks. This year in the official Success Packet it is specified:

“Twelve [12] pairs of plain white cotton athletic ankle socks (Socks must be void of visible logos¬†or color, and must cover the protruding ankle bone. Low cut quarter socks are permitted.)”

Since knobs have worn crew length socks for years I contacted the commandant’s office for clarification. I was told that this year ALL cadets will be required to wear ankle length white socks for unit physical training.

The other change that was made a year or so ago was the labeling of clothes. For years that task was completed the first week. Now the school suggests knobs label their clothes before they arrive as a time saving measure. Since time is a precious commodity to knobs anything they can do before they report to save some time once they are on campus, should be done. The labeling instructions are on the Success Packet list:

Labeling clothes:
As a time saving measure, though not mandatory, it would be helpful to write your last name and first two initials in your clothing using a permanent marker. The location of the name should be inconspicuous when the garment is worn (e.g., bottom of each sock, rear waistband of underwear, and the front shirt tail of t-shirts).

Household linens such as towels, sheets, and pillow cases should not be labeled. The Cadet Laundry will affix a permanent label to these items.

Bottomline in less than two weeks the Class of 2020 will report for Matriculation Day. Talk of socks, shoes and plastic bins will give way to questions about General Leave, Parents Weekend, and why is the food so bad and the laundry service so slow.

Ahh the signs of Fall at The Citadel.

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