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Senior Parent notes

The members of the CLass of 2011 wait to receive their rings. photo by Stanley Leary

***2/10/2019 Please note: I am no longer updating the blog posts for Citadel parents. See the official school website for the most up to date information***

I was surprised to get a few phone calls this year from parents of seniors right before Ring weekend. A month ago questions about graduation began coming in. I’ll post a few notes here on both occasions. The Cadet Activities page will post schedules and information for both weekends. The main web site has a page for the special weekends as well.

Ring Weekend:

Congratulations! Your cadet has made it to senior year and is about get ‘The Ring!” Be sure to get your hotel reservations or condo rental early for this big weekend. We arrived Thursday evening to make sure we could fully participate in the activities Friday. Our cadet did not want to eat in the dining hall with his knob mentee Friday at lunch.  We went to brunch Friday morning instead. Families who did go to the dining hall said it was a fun experience.

The Ring Ceremony Friday afternoon is preceded by the seniors lining up in 2nd Battalion then marching into the fieldhouse. Since my husband is a photographer we decided to get inside early to get a good seat for taking photos. Our friends who stayed outside shared their photos with us. Dress for the afternoon function should be appropriate for the occasion.  You will see all types of clothes worn by family members.  The cadets are in their full dress uniforms.  We choose to wear business attire, shirt and tie for my husband and a skirt suit for me.  Our middle school aged daughter wore a nice dress.

Nelson receives his ring. photo by Stanley Leary

Each company asked a person special to them to present their rings. As everything else the companies are called in alphabetical order then the cadets in alphabetical order. The lighting is dim in the fieldhouse so getting a good photo is difficult if you don’t have the right camera and if you aren’t in the center sections. You do not need tickets for this event so family members can come along.

After the announcement is made to put on their rings then they are dismissed. We were outside to see them RUN from the fieldhouse across the parade field to the chapel then into the barracks. The rings used to be given in the chapel. When the ceremony moved to the fieldhouse to accommodate all the family members the cadets decided to go to the chapel. Nothing happens there though so they run into the barracks.

Bravo Company cadets run to the chapel with their rings. photo by Stanley Leary

In the barracks the 2nd Class cadets have flutes of sparkling cider  waiting on a table in front of the company letter. The seniors run through the sword arch made by the juniors then each take a flute. They toast each other than throw the glass at the letter. You can’t go into the barracks to see all this. I found a spot through a side sally port to see it all unfold.

Seniors run through the sword arch with their new rings. photo by Stanley Leary

The Toast photo by Stanley Leary

Smash the glasses photo by Stanley Leary

Bravo Company 2011 wear the Ring photo by Stanley Leary

Once they have a chance to celebrate with their friends the seniors come out to see their family and friends outside the barracks and take LOTS of photos. I’ve never seen our cadet so happy, grinning from ear to ear.

The happy Ring wearer and family.

The afternoon is free for those not in the Summerall Guards. Our son had to practice for the Summerall Guard performance the next day so we went to the hotel for some down time then to get dressed for the evening dinner with Bravo Company friends then the Ring Presentation.

The Cadet Activities office handles all the arrangements for the Ring Presentation. They post the instructions and schedule for the evening to their website in the month or so leading up to Ring Weekend. Dress for the ladies is formal. I wore a floor length gown, and so did my sons date, but others wore tea length.

Companies are assigned a time to go through the ring. You are to be in place 15 minutes before the published time. Since Bravo went through the ring around 8:00 PM we went to dinner at 5:30. I’ve heard some friends say they went through the ring then had dinner. We went with a large group of parents, families members and cadets. Some friends tell me their cadet wanted to go out to dinner with just their classmates. We had a nice dinner at the Charleston Crab House on James Island.  It is on the water and they accommodated our large group (30) at the last-minute.

There is a professional photographer at the presentation and also in the lobby area. Since we have our own photographer in the family we did not have the ones taken there. After walking through the ring you can go to the Ring Hop and/or take a free carriage ride through the campus.

The rest of the weekend was a typical football weekend. The seniors seem to enter rooms ring first and pose for photos with their ring finger prominent in each photograph!

Going through the ring. photo by Stanley Leary


Nelson receives his bars from his father and uncle.

Another great weekend For this one we arrived in Charleston Wednesday evening. Our cadet was commissioned into the U.S. Army early Friday morning.  There were some events Thursday that I wasn’t sure if he would participate in (he didn’t) so we arrived Wednesday to make sure we didn’t miss any of the activities.

Friday is the time the various branches of the military hold their commissioning ceremonies. My son’s father and uncle, a retired LTC pinned his bars on his shoulders.  After the ceremony we went outside to see our new second lieutenant get his first salute from a non-commissioned officer. It is customary  for the new officer to give the NCO a silver dollar after the salute when they shake hands.

We gave our son a Lifetime membership in the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. It makes a great gift and the price of a lifetime membership is expensive, but far less than if your grad waits a few years.

The first salute. photo by Stanley Leary

The graduation parade is a very moving event.  In May of 2011 it POURED but the rain didn’t dampened anyones spirits. After the parade ends the President usually hosts a reception for the graduates and their families.  We had planned to attend, but were so drenched we just went back to our hotel.

Nelson receives his membership plaque from the CAA President.

Graduation takes place Saturday.  Cadet Activities handles the ticketing for graduation.  Each family can have up to 8 tickets, no more.  The only way to get additional tickets is to ask friends who will not use all of theirs or apply for additional, but they are not guaranteed.  If you have a family member who has ambulatory issues, be sure your cadets requests special seating on the floor.

Graduation lasts about 3 hours so be sure to bring quiet distraction activities for younger children. At the end of the graduation after the president dismisses the graduates they trow their covers up in the air and everyone tries to find their graduate. It is helpful if you agree to meet your graduate at a designated area on the floor afterward to make it easier to connect.

I was surprised at the amount of time our cadet spent with us graduation weekend.  He did go out Friday night with his buddies and again Saturday night.

2011 Long Grey Line photo by Stanley Leary

2011 Commencement photo by Stanley Leary

The graduate and family.

Dorie and Chelle with Nelson and Matt. Sept. 2007, knob year.

Nelson and Matt, Corps Day 2011. They are members of the 2011 Summerall Guards. and are now second lieutenants in the U. S. Army.

Blog Posts about Senior Year:

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Grey Line

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet


12 Responses

  1. Thanks Dorie! Your information is so VALUABLE I am reading your notes for parents of Seniors often…. Getting prepared for our BIG day!

    Jerri Rodgers Mom of Cadet Josh Rodgers


  2. Yes, Thanks Dorie! This is so helpful and I can’t believe we are at this point. SENIORS! These last three years flew so fast. I am getting those tissue boxes ready!!!!


  3. Hi Dorie – Great information! Hard to believe Jay is finally a senior….the time has flown by for all of us.


  4. Thanks, Dorie, for putting this up once again – I’ve now printed out so I have a visual checklist for our upcoming Senior Year activities.


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