Parents’ Weekend, 2017

knobs line the street 2014

The Class of 2018 lines the street to cheer on the Class of 2015 as they march to the field house to receive their rings. Oct. 2014. Now in 2017 it will be theClass of 2018 who will be proudly marching to the field house to receive their rings.

(Come back this weekend for updates)

We are just one week away from Parents’ Weekend at the Citadel. If you haven’t already, view the details of the weekend on the parent page of the school website.

http://www.citadel.edu/root/parents-day-weekend-2017

A few highlights for the parents of the clad of 2021.  If you can arrive by 12noon Friday. The seniors receive their rings on the Friday of Parents’ Weekend. If you arrive by noon you will get to see the senior process from 2nd Battalion to McAlister Fieldhouse. The cadets wait three long years for this honor.  It is a fun tradition to witness.  Plus if you are there early the knobs get to leave campus soon after the debuts process in.  See the official calendar for the timeline.

Saturday is packed with activities.  Parents will want to arrive on campus earthly to secure a parking space and to be ready to go to open barracks. It is the first time since matriculation day that parents can go into the barracks.  Some families bring breakfast to their knobs and cadets. No one will stop you.  It is also a time to bring requested items to a cadet.

Knobs in each company make a banner.  A lot of time and effort goes into the banner.  Be sure to take note of the banner and het photos.  Each company has bulletin boards that are painted to. Ask your knob or cadet about the tradition.

Other activities that morning include a gift fair in Mark Clark Hall with various vendors; the Kelly Cup finals; the knob promotion ceremony, when they go from being cadet recruits to cadet privates; then the parade, lunch and the football game.

It is a very busy day. You should wear comfortable clothes and shoes!

After the game knobs can go of campus with you until midnight.  On occasion the knobs and cadets have been granted an overnight on Saturday. The decision, IF it is made,  is announced toward the end of the football game.  You should not count on an overnight, but rejoice if they are given one.

Sunday is the day you will have the most time to spend with your knob. There are several church services for those interested.  This year I’ve been invited by Chaplain Molina to preach for the 10:00am Protestant Service. This is a huge honor.  I look forward to seeing many of my Citadel family at the service.

The weekend zips by. You’ll wonder where the time went by Sunday night!

So far the forecast is looking great for the weekend.  Pack sunscreen and insect repellent, along with your light clothing and comfortable shoes.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 to teaching this milestone!

Congratulations to the Class of 2018 for receiving your Band of Gold!

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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 citadel.edu 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

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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 support 😉  photo by Michael Givens

 

 

Notes for New Citadel Families

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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

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

The Citadel: Being Supportive From the Outside

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Parents and family members look through the sallyport gates as the cadre walk by on Matriculation Day, 2015.

I did not attend The Citadel, my son did. Over the years I’ve learned a good bit about the process, but I am still not an insider and never will be.

However, I have learned how to be a supportive parent of a cadet. A parent of a cadet should follow the strict definition of supportive, “Providing encouragement or emotional help.” That is important for new parents to keep in mind this first year, especially if over the past several years you are the type of parent who reminded your student of deadlines and due dates or if you did their scheduling.

At The Citadel the cadets learn to take ownership of their actions. Time management is a huge part of that process. The beginning of the year the first year cadets, or knobs as they are called, learn how to polish and shine brass and their shoes. They learn where everything goes and how to get ready for an inspection. THey learn the rules of the school and what is expected of them. This all takes place before the classes start. Once the classes start they have to juggle the military aspect of polishing and cleaning, with the academic rigors. Parents can be a huge support during that transition.

When a knob begins to feel overwhelmed they will often vent to family and friends not at the school because these trusted contacts are the only ones they feel safe with at the beginning. It can be hard to hear the complaints but it is now when they need your encouraging support. Remind them they are strong. As time goes on the knobs will slowly learn to trust and lean on their classmates. In fact their friends knob year will become like family to them for the rest of their life.

The knobs are put in situations where they must make snap decisions and judgements. It seems arbitrary to an outsider. I’ve gain insights into the reason the system works the way it does by reading books and talking to graduates and cadets.

One book I read, Through Their Eyes by George Steffner was very helpful. The following paragraph is from page 41 and it explains how the training that takes place in the mess hall works:

“The process was designed to create a pressure cooker environment in which young officers in training were pulled at from every direction, for every imaginable reason, to do things that were next to impossible. But the cadre were not there simply to make our lives miserable. Hot situations gave the upperclassmen excellent indicators of who was and was not suitable for command, both at the school and later in life, whether in a military capacity or otherwise. The idea was simple: to be so overcome with stress and responsibilities, so completely surrounded with impossible demands on their time that they would have to choose in triage fashion the most important tasks to complete while keeping a cool head in the process. It was a proven method, not without flaws but generally successful in creating leaders who could make important decisions under pressure. Someday these men might lead a platoon or company through knee-deep mud. Someday these men might find themselves taking fire and incoming mortar rounds from all sides with little hope of escape, What would be needed then wouldn’t be a leader who fell apart and  got is entire command wiped-out but rather one who could think clearly and rally his men to hunker down, counter attack and if possible survive to fight another day. The only way to weed out those who couldn’t take life’s pressures was to do so in an early crucible and this was part of that crucible.”

The memorization of the Knob Knowledge in the Guidon (the updated Guidon should be posted this summer) and other facts they must remember have a similar purpose. One day in their post college position they may be called on to remember details and information in a pressured situation. Developing the ability to memorize and to integrate that information into your memory is a crucial skill in high pressure situations.

One of the biggest differences I’ve observed between cadets and their non-military school counter parts is the ability to manage their time. With all the required activities, including mandatory class attendance and meal attendance, time becomes a precious commodity. Taking time away from cadets is a form of punishment whether it is walking tours or sitting confinements.

Confinements and Tours as defined in the Blue Book:

6.8.3 Confinements

6.8.3.1 A confinement is a 50‑minute period during which confined cadets, in duty uniform with white waist belt, are required to remain in their assigned confinement classroom (or when approved by the ACD their own room which will be in MRI order) studying.

6.8.4 Tours

6.8.4.1 A tour is a 50‑minute period of time during which a cadet marches on the quadrangle at 120 steps a minute with a rifle at right or left‑ shoulder arms.

It is a strict system with checks and balances in place to encourage good decision-making. That is not to say that cadets are above trying to stretch the rules a bit.

 

As I mentioned in an early blog post, Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel, the cadets, especially the ones interested in holding rank, must learn to use their time wisely. It is a job skill that other college students may not learn until they are in their first job.

For the families of incoming knobs this is all a bit overwhelming right now. In the months ahead you will learn to let go of the daily control over your son or daughter’s time and actions and adjust to supporting them in their activities. If they call and complain about their process, know that you are the only one they can complain to right now. They usually vent then move on leaving you to worry as they go on to the next task. You need to remember they are only getting small bits of information at a time and cannot see the big picture. Your role is to be supportive by helping see the big picture and keep their long terms goals in mind.

A few tips for how to be supportive when you hear from a knob:

  • Remind them they are stronger than they feel at that moment.
  • Tell them they will get through this one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time.
  • Encourage them to build relationships with their fellow knobs. They will learn they are not alone.
  • Remind them they are at college, grades are more important than shining shoes. Fit the shining in around their studies not the other way around. (their shoes will never be shiny enough)
  • Help them set small manageable goals. i.e. make it to Friday of each week, then to Parents Weekend, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
  • Frequent care packages of their favorite protein bars and treats is always welcomed.

If you are the parent of an incoming knob, join the Facebook group for 2020 parents.  Extended family or friends are not permitted into the group.  This is a volunteer effort that is very time consuming with just the parents. If you are a 2020 parent, go to the group page and request to join then send me a Facebook message or email (address in the About section) to confirm you are a parent.

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Knobs in the Class of 2019 line up after getting their hair cut the Monday after Matriculation Day. Part of the 4th Class system is becoming uniform with everyone in your class.

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Knobs from the Class of 2019 study their Guidons after gettting their hair cut.

The Citadel: End of the Year Tips for Parents

2015 ready to say good bye

Members of the Class of 2015 turn to face the Corps of Cadets.

Each year about this time I receive an interesting mix of questions. Families of seniors write with graduation questions. Sophomore and junior parents have fewer questions but the ones they do have revolve around either the BVA process for junior year or early questions about Ring Weekend for rising seniors. The knob families are gearing up for Recognition Day, and the parents of high school seniors have matriculation Day questions.

Senior families:

The graduation schedule is posted on the school web site and should answer most of your questions. You only get 8 tickets per family. some large families set up a computer/TV combination in a rental home so the people who are not at graduation can see the live stream.

The school posts a link to the Balfour graduation announcements. They did not have the site updated early enough for many families so many have used a different company that offer better prices and plenty of options: Signature Announcements

I refer parents to the link to Emily Post Graduation Etiquette for an explanation about the difference between announcements and an invitation. Since the tickets are limited it is customary to send announcements a day to 2 weeks after the graduation to let friends and family know of the milestone reached by your graduate.

On graduation day be sure to ask your graduate where they want to meet you when the ceremony is over. The place is packed and if you have a designated place to meet it can cut down on the time it takes to find your grad is a sea of people.

For more tips and photos just enter Graduation in the search window of this blog page. Here is the post I wrote after graduation last year: Graduation for the Class of 2015

Dismissed

Class of 2015 Dismissed!

Junior families:

The biggest question that I’m asked is about the ring payment.The Citadel Alumni Association will send a bill in late August once the registrar lets them know who is qualified to receive their rings in October. Hopefully you or your cadet have been saving up. The cost of the ring has been in the $1,000 range the past several years. The payment is due before Ring Weekend.

BV and Summerall Guards with Jason

A few 2014 Summerall Guards, 2015 Bond Volunteers pose with ’89 grad, Jason Perakis, before their run Friday of Corps Day Weekend.

It is customary for the cadet to escort their mother through the giant replica of the ring the Friday evening of Ring Weekend. The schedule of when each company goes through the ring is posted early in the new school year by the cadet activities office.

For photos of dresses and other activities of the weekend, see this post: Parents’ Weekend at The Citadel, 2015

Sophomore families:

There isn’t much parents need to know before junior year. If your son has plans to become a Bond Volunteer Aspirant, you can expect them to spend a good part of their summer physically preparing. I’ve posted several entries about the process you might find helpful.

Knob families:

It won’t be long until your son or daughter will cease being a knob and become a regular 4th Class cadet. Recognition Day is coming up. If you attend, remember it is not a day to interact with your cadet. If you go, watch from the sidelines, take photos and be in awe of how they have grown as a class in one short academic year. This year I am looking forward to being on campus and joining some 2019 families for lunch that day.

Tire Flip

Cadets work together to flip a tire during the “Gauntlet.” photo by Stacy Carter Photography Studios

A heads up about sophomore year: It is a different type of tough.They aren’t knobs but if they have rank they are the lowest ranking officers. Many refer to it as knobmore year because it doesn’t seem a whole lot different than the year before. Parents like to call it knob-no-more, but I’m told by many cadets and grads that knobmore is a better description.

A few words of caution. . . It is a year when they do get a little bit a power. It can be a time when they will run into the discipline system a bit more. Grades can slip sophomore year because they don’t have anyone telling them what to do like they did the year before.

Families of high school seniors:

Congratulations! You are about to embark on quite a rollercoaster ride called Knob Year. Please join the Facebook group called, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. Please send me an email to let me know you are the parent of an incoming knob. The group is only for parents of knobs, not extended family. You’ll meet other parents who will become your friends. A few parents of grads are in the group to help answer questions. We have a variety of different backgrounds.The Citadel Family Association also has a Facebook group you can join. The Area Reps are parents throughout the country who volunteer to be a support to knew parents. Once you know your son or daughters company (on Matriculation Day) you will have a CFA parent volunteer you can also contact for help and support.

Knobs and Mark Clark statue

Knobs line up after getting their heads shaved Monday of Challenge Week, 2015

The Ebb and Flow of Emotions for Parents of Cadets

The Class of 2016 with their new rings Run out of McAlister Field House.

The Class of 2016 with their new rings Run out of McAlister Field House.

I returned home Tuesday evening this week from a visit to The Citadel. While my son graduated in 2011 I have several “adopted” cadets that I’ve become close to. Several 2016 cadet friends received their rings both Friday afternoon then also on Monday. I enjoyed visiting with their families.

One mom in particular, Laurie Connors, I have corresponded with for the past three years, but I never met her. I met the dad and their son on matriculation day in 2012. I’ve taken the cadet to meals when I’ve visited. Her daughter and mine share several interests. We’ve exchanged gifts in the mail, talked on the phone, but until this past Friday afternoon we had not met face to face. We had a great visit around the picnic tables by the boat house. They went to get ready for the Friday evening Ring Ceremony, when the cadet escorts their mother, or other significant family or friend through the ring, and I was going to grab a bite to eat since I had not had lunch.

What happened next was a surprise, but the type I’ve come to expect on these visits. I ran into a recent graduate, Temyrick Mosely. Temyrick and I first met before his knob year. I had invited the entering knob football players and their parents to our house for a little gathering. It seemed each time I visited campus I’d run into him. We have a series of selfies we’ve taken together so of course last Friday we had to take another one. He’s working in the DC area now and was in town for the game. It was such an unexpected treat to see him.

A photo from a visit in 2013 or 2014

A photo from a visit in 2013 or 2012

The traditional selfie with Temyrick the Friday of Ring Weekend, 2015

The traditional selfie with Temyrick the Friday of Ring Weekend, 2015

Friday night was the first time I’ve been inside the field house for the Ring Ceremony since my son graduated. It was also the first time I watched the Junior Sword Arch perform in person. What a treat! After wards I took photos of the cadets going through the ring until Laurie, David and David’s date walked through. Since each year moms ask about what to wear I decided I take a good amount of photos so everyone can see the variety of outfits worn this special night. You can see all my photos from the evening and the weekend in this Facebook album.

It is such a proud moment to walk through the ring with your cadet.

It is such a proud moment to walk through the ring with your cadet.

Saturday was jammed packed with activity as the Saturday of Parents Weekend is each year. The rain was threatening all day but fortunately it held off until after the morning activities and before the football game. I began the morning in 4th battalion visiting the knob I dropped off on Matriculation Day. It was a treat to finally meet his mother too. From there it was off to 1st battalion to see the many Bravo families I’ve some to know. An added bonus was getting to see my son. He served his last day in the Army in early October and was in town celebrating with his fellow 2011 grad friends. It was great to see him so happy. I also learned that my ex and his wife are now host family for several Bravo knobs. It is such a small world. Of course I took plenty of photos of the knob promotion ceremony and the banners in each barracks I visited. (see this Facebook album)

Laurie, David and Dorie

I had to leave campus to treat after the morning activities but returned to the campus area for a celebration dinner for several seniors I’ve some to know. It was an honor to be invited by a family of a Delta senior who also was extremely supportive of me and my son during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2012-13. Time really does just fly by.

Sunday morning was a good bye brunch at the Marina Variety Store with Laurie and her husband Bob. I am so glad we were finally able to spend time together this weekend. I look forward to seeing them again at graduation. From brunch it was off to campus to attend the Catholic Mass. The services this Sunday are special since each one includes a Blessing of the Rings for seniors. I spent the rest of the day on campus watching a volleyball game then walking the campus.

Dorie and Nelson

2011 Classmates

While the families have returned home the cadets had to jump right into mid terms. It is a time of year that is stressful for each class. The cadets look forward to the festivities of Parents Weekend and then are thrust into the intense study/testing period. Fortunately in the next week or so they will have a reprieve form the stress with the day of service. Cadets spread across the area and help at schools and community groups providing needed volunteer support for projects. A really neat addition tot he activities this year is the painting of a mural to honor the fallen victims of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church this past June. The project is spearheaded by Professor Tiffany Silverman, the very talented person behind the Fine Arts department on campus.

Each cadet has their own experience on campus. The knobs at this point are either finding their stride and a workable balance with their school work and military training, or they are struggling to keep it all together. For many is falls somewhere in between. While I’ve not endured the 4th Class System I’ve been told by many cadets and graduates it is a struggle all year long just to keep going. If you are the parent of a knob who is struggling encourage them to seek support through the academic support center. Talk with their academic advisor and the academic officer in the cadet chain of command. They all want your son or daughter to succeed. Like Dumbledore said in J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” Help is available at The Citadel, but the cadet is the one who needs to seek the help. In his book, Sword Drill, David Epps describes the struggles of knob year and grades. A poor showing the first semester knob year does not mean the follow semesters will follow suit, but it does take focus and a lot of work.

In the weeks ahead the campus will host returning graduates for homecoming, then the quick march to the Thanksgiving furlough is anticipated. Parents of knobs will begin to hear stories of making a special hat for their senior mentor.

It is key for families to remember there is an ebb and flow to each school year and each semester of the year. As I mentioned earlier the cadets are on a rollercoaster of emotions, but you should not get on that ride with them. Listen to their struggles and then encourage them to look for solutions. Remind them of their choice to attend this school and that they have the inner strength to get through it.

If at any time you are struggling as a parent, reach out to your support system. It isn’t easy, but as I witnessed with my son and his friends this weekend, the results are worth it.

Before I leave campus each visit I stop at the boathouse and go out to the dock to take a few photos. It is such a tranquil place on a campus not known for it's tranquility.

Before I leave campus each visit I stop at the boathouse and go out to the dock to take a few photos. It is such a tranquil place on a campus not known for it’s tranquility.

Parents’ Weekend at The Citadel, 2015

The Class of 2018 lines the street to cheer on the Class of 2015 as they march to the field house to receive their rings. Oct. 2014

The Class of 2018 lines the street to cheer on the Class of 2015 as they march to the field house to receive their rings. Oct. 2014

In just a few short weeks scores of families will head to Charleston and the campus of The Citadel for Parents’ Weekend. The class of 2016 will receive their rings (THE Ring) Friday afternoon and the Class of 2019 will go through a promotion ceremony Saturday morning. They will move from being cadet recruits to cadet privates. While it is a fun weekend for all classes the focus is really on the seniors and freshman, or knobs as they are called. I am very excited to attend the events this year at the invitation of a few friends.

The school has posted the schedule for the weekend. I’ve copied the times down and made some notes on each event.

Friday, October 9: (Note: Parking begins to fill up before noon on Friday. Allow extra time to walk to your destination on campus if you arrive closer or after noon.)

10:30 amReport to Parents by the President and Senior Staff:  If you are in town early and can attend, these talks are always informative.

The Class of 2015 ready to receive their rings.

The Class of 2015 ready to receive their rings.

12:55 pm – The seniors process from 2nd battalion to McAlister Field house as the knobs cheer them on. If you are on campus, this is a fun tradition to watch. The knobs in the class of 2019 line both sides of the street and cheer on the seniors as they process by. It is a great time to take photos and video.

For families of seniors: Families of the seniors really should be seated inside before the processional. If you really want to see them march in and you have a large party have someone save your seat, or designate one person to take photos. We had our seats staked out on the middle aisle part way up the stands my son’s senior year. My husband is a photographer and found this was the best place to get photos of the ring being presented. The seniors are divided in two groups by company then in alpha order. Be sure to ask your cadet which side their company will be on to make it easier for you to spot them when they are seated. Each company invites a special person to their class to give them their rings. It can be a former cadet officer TAC officer, alumnus or other person special to the class. Ask  your cadet who they selected. The school will have a video of the presentation after the ceremony. See this link for a video from a previous year.

Our extended family: Dorie Cadet Lucas, Dorothy Lucas, Chelle Leary. Oct. 2014 photo by Stanley Leary

Our extended family: Dorie Cadet Lucas, Dorothy Lucas, Chelle Leary
photo by Stanley Leary

After the presentation ceremony is over the seniors run out of the field house, across the parade field to the chapel. This began after the presentation was moved to the field house. cadets used to receive their rings in the chapel years ago. The past several years the seniors began to run to the chapel and knock on the memorial plaques and chapel door with their ring. They then run to their company letter. Junior cadets form an arch that the senior run through, grab a glass of sparkling cider then throw the glass at the company letter. If you position yourself at the sallyport with a view of the company letter you can see this ritual play out. I wrote about my son’s senior year here.

The seniors will spend a little time inside the company then will join you outside the barracks for photos and to show off their ring. Have your camera ready! The seniors smile more this weekend than they have for the previous three years.

The Summerall Guards have a practice Friday afternoon. Others will have free time before the ring ceremony Friday night. (See this video from 1991 to see the tradition hasn’t changed much over the years.)

For families of knobs: If you can get to campus to see the march into the field house it will give you a glimpse into the pride the seniors feel. The knobs will cheer on the seniors and then will be able to leave campus fairly soon after the seniors go into the field house. As with everything else this first year the knobs are not in control of their time. Let them know when you will get to campus and ask them where they want to meet you. Be aware that some families will not be able to visit their son or daughter this weekend. If you can, invite your knob’s friends without family in town to join you. You will have the entire afternoon and evening together. Ask your son or daughter when they wan to return. Many go back a little early to get their rooms ready for open barracks in the morning.

1:00 – 3:30 pm – Information reception Various vendors and cadet clubs have display tables set up in Mark Clark Hall. Bring cash and your check book. In the past, some vendors have not taken credit cards. If you see something you want get it this weekend. There is no guarantee they will have it at a later big weekend.

6:00 pm – Ring Ceremony and Family Photos The evening begins with the Junior Sword Arch (JSA) opening the event by performing their silent drill. You are not required to be there for this, but it is a very neat performance to watch. Some families/groups who go through the ring later in the evening opt to go out to dinner rather than watch the JSA. Each company and group of cadets are given the time to go through the ring.

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. 2010 photo by Stanley Leary

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. 2010
photo by Stanley Leary

Traditionally the cadet escorts their mother through the ring. Over time this tradition has broadened to other significant people to the cadet. It is also traditional for the women to wear a formal dress since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. You will see cocktail length or evening slacks suits on some in attendance, but the majority still wear formal dresses. A video of the presentation from a previous year.

Gentleman going through the ring wear either a dark suit or a tuxedo. If the men are not walking through the ring they dress for the dinner plans the family has that evening. The cadet and whomever they escort are to be on line at least 15 minutes before their scheduled time. Be sure you wear comfortable shoes if you are walking through the ring as you may be waiting a while to walk through. The rest of the party not going through the ring go to the stands to sit and wait for them to walk through.

A note about dinner. Since the companies go through at different times each family/or group of families will decide when they need to have dinner. Reservations are important since it is a Friday night and a big weekend in Charleston. As a side note, many seniors reserve Friday night for family then will go out with their classmates Saturday night. Of course that too varies with each cadet/family.

Saturday, October 10:

8:00 am Buyer Auditorium, Mark Clark Hall – Coffee and juice is available for parents. Vendors of various types including the photographer who takes the company photos are available.

Parents of Regimental Band Company guests may enter Padgett-Thomas barracks at 8:00. Band company has other duties this morning.

The Class of 2018 receive their company letter.

The Class of 2018 receive their company letter.

8:30 – 10:15 Open Barracks Families and their guests can visit their cadet in their room. Some parents use this time to bring food items to their cadets. For many it is the first time to see the barracks room fully made up and inspection ready. The knobs have spent a lot of time on the company banner. Be sure to make a special note of the banner. There are various bulletin boards that are painted by the cadets in each company.

8:45- 9:15 am Kelly Cup Competition The Kelly Cup is a competition between squads made up of knobs from each company. The final four squads compete Saturday morning for the Kelly Cup. Your son or daughter will have told you if they are participating. If they are not you have more time to spend with them before their promotion ceremony.

9:30 – 10:00 Regimental Band and Pipes Concert Held on the parade field this is a nice concert to attend while the knobs prepare for their promotion ceremony.

10:10 – 10:20 am Fourth Class Promotion Ceremonies A very moving ceremony for the knobs and their families. The knobs are lined up in front of the company letter. Family and friends can watch from around the group. The company commander and the company 1st Sgt present the knobs with their company letter. Afterward they do push ups together. This ceremony marks the end of the cadre period.

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

Once the ceremony is over the cadets get ready for the parade and families move to the parade field to wait for the parade to start.

Each year various groups of parents use this time to meet somewhere on the parade field to say hello to friends they have made through the various Facebook groups. This year I’ll be watching the promotion ceremony for Bravo Company then will be by the jet, “Annette” outside of 1st battalion.

11:00 – 11:45 am Review Dress Parade and Awards. Get your spot on the parade field or in the stands for the parade. Some people bring their own folding chairs and place them along the ropes before the parade to save a place. You’ll soon learn the best viewing spot for the company you want to see. It is nice to watch from the stands, but we enjoyed watching first battalion some on to the field from in front of Mark Clark Hall for some parades.

12:00 – 12:45 pm Lunch You have several option for lunch as outlined in the printed schedule. I think every family should eat in the mess hall at least once during the four years at the school. You’ll need to have reservations for the mess hall or a boxed lunch. Many families pack a picnic lunch, or bring food for their cadet then tailgate for their lunch. You will not be able to take your cadet off campus for lunch. The Citadel Alumni Association has a great BBQ lunch in the Holliday Alumni Center from 12 – 2:00 for $12 per person. It is good food and served int eh nice air conditioned room on the first floor. This is where I usually eat before the game.

The 2015 Summerall Guards prepare to perform The Citadel Series at halftime. Oct 2014

The 2015 Summerall Guards prepare to perform The Citadel Series at halftime. Oct 2014

2:00 Football Game The cadets march to the stadium from the barracks as fans line the street. The Summerall Guards perform at halftime. The cadets have to stay together in the stands during the game. The knobs will be able to get something to eat and drink at half time. Many families go ahead before half time and get them something to eat and drink and have it waiting for the knobs. If you haven’t already you can get tickets to the game through the ticket office. You can also buy tickets the day of the game.

Many families tailgate before and after the game. The families of knobs usually try to leave campus as soon as the football game is over and the knobs are released to leave. This first year knobs usually want to sleep, eat and sleep some more when they get off campus.

Sunday, October 11

9:00 Worship services in the chapel and Buyer Auditorium

The cadets have the day to be with family and friends.

Notes:

Dress: For families of cadets from knob year to junior year the dress for the weekend is casual.

Senior families Friday afternoon is business casual. The evening is formal (see notes above). Saturday is a typical football day.

Watch the weather forecast and pack accordingly. You cannot bring umbrellas into the football stadium but you can wear a rain poncho.

Parking: Like all big weekends, parking is tight. The earlier you arrive the better selection of parking spots you will have. See  the official weekend information for details

See the previous posts about Parents Weekend/Ring Weekend for more photos of the events:

Our Ring Weekend Adventure, Part 1

Our Ring Weekend Adventure, Part 2

The Citadel: Parents weekend Notes for the Class of 2014 and 2017

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Special Weekends: Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day, Recognition Day

The Citadel: Parents Weekend and Ring Weekend Tips

Senior Parent notes

The Citadel: Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

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