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.

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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

The Citadel: Class of 2019, Matriculation Day Count Down

Featured guest speaker Captain Eugene “Geno” Paluso, II ’89 USN (ret.), Commandant of Cadets, with Colonel Hutto '87, Citadel Alumni Association,  Dorie Griggs and the ACC Officers

L-R: Andy Frey, ACC president; Colonel Laurence Hutto ’87, Citadel Alumni Association; Featured guest speaker Captain Eugene “Geno” Paluso, II ’89 USN (ret.), Commandant of Cadets; Dorie Griggs, Michael Escoe, ACC VP and Gregory Horton and James Stevens, ACC Board of Directors.

Capt. Eugene “Geno” Paluso, commandant of cadets was the featured speaker at the Atlanta Citadel Club‘s annual cadet send off dinner. A group of alumni incoming knob and their parents heard the vision and goals of the commandant. If you have some time I highly recommend you listen to his talk and the Q&A afterward.

The pre-knobs in the Class of 2019 who attended the Atlanta Citadel Club dinner in June.

The pre-knobs in the Class of 2019 who attended the Atlanta Citadel Club dinner in June.

Right now the Facebook group for parents of the class of 2019 is right at 260 members and is growing each day. The topics in the group range from clear plastic boxes, shoes and shoe polish to computers and wireless set up. It is an exciting and nerve wracking time for the new families.

My son started in 2007, before Facebook. Fortunately the Atlanta Citadel Club has had a group for parents for years. I am still in touch with a few parents I met at that first send off dinner the summer of 2007. While I didn’t have Facebook groups to help me I did correspond with The parents of cadets I met at the dinner and also the Citadel Family Association (CFA) volunteers. The CFA is for parents of current cadets and is a great resource for all parents. In the time leading up to matriculation day you can look up your area representative. After matriculation day, when you find out what company and battalion your cadet is in, there are company and battalion reps who will be very good resources for you.

Right now the incoming knobs, or pre-knobs, should be breaking in their shoes. This year it has been tough to find the proper shoes as some styles are changing and brands some cadets have bought in the past are no longer being made. The Bates brand plain toe black leather oxford with rubber heel is the one the school recommends. As long as the shoes meet the published criteria on the Matriculation Headquarters page the shoes and boots will be fine. Pay particular attention to each link on the Matriculation Headquarters page, including the Commandant’s Matriculation Information page. In addition to the list of required items in the Success Packet which is listed in the Matriculation Headquarters page, parents and their pre-knobs should review the  Citadel Family Association’s “Nice to Have List.”

Entering knobs place their belongings on the side walk outside the barracks and go to check in. Family members wait by the belongings.

Entering knobs place their belongings on the side walk outside the barracks and go to check in. Family members wait by the belongings.

The items to bring hasn’t changed much over the past few years. The clear plastic boxes seem to cause some amount of stress for moms looking for the exact sizes listed. Please don’t stress over these. You do need to be sure they are no larger than the sizes listed, but it really isn’t something to lose sleep over.

I am going to repeat myself here, but it can’t be stressed enough, you and your pre-knob should read the Matriculation Headquarters page and click on ALL the links on the page, and all the links on the pages you will navigate to. Before arriving on campus I suggest you print out the Matriculation Day schedule from the Matriculation Headquarters page and also the Traffic Diagram from the Matriculation Information page.

This year I have plans to be on campus over the matriculation day weekend for meetings with various staff members. I look forward to meeting some of the parent sI’ve corresponded with as well.

You may find the following entry, located on the left hand side of this blog page, helpful as you get ready to report:

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that First Day

Survival Tips for Knob Parents

The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion. photo by David Hall

The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion.
photo by David Hall

Welcome to The Citadel parent family!
I am sure Matriculation Day was a mixed bag of emotions for you. The Citadel Family Association volunteers do a terrific job of helping ease what is usually a very stressful day for families. The real tough time for parents begins today.

I am not a graduate of The Citadel so I cannot speak to the cadet experience, but I can relate to how a parent feels when they send their student off to knob year. If you are a parent of a knob, please join the Facebook group I moderate, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018. I will not accept requests to join from extended family members or friends. It is very time consuming volunteer work to keep the parent groups going. I cannot extend an invitation to extra people. Please send me an email before you request to join to verify you are the parent of a knob send me their name and company. My email can be found in the “About Dorie” section of this blog site.

5th Battalion photo by David Hall

5th Battalion
photo by David Hall

This first week without contact from your knob is tough. Each year parents find some measure of comfort by visiting the various school Facebook groups to find photos and videos of the week. I’ll post a few links to helpful Facebook groups at the end of this entry.

A note about Facebook and social media this first year. Facebook groups can be a great way to connect with other parents. It can also cause trouble among parents and cadets when too much is shared to a group wall, or when parents think they should know everything that is going on every minute of every day.

Please limit your posts to general questions. If you have specific questions pertaining to your cadet you send private messages to a trusted friend or CFA volunteer. Do not post specifics about your knob or any cadet to a Facebook group or page.

Know that the groups were established to answer general questions, not to give a full accounting of everything a cadet will do each day. The Citadel is a leadership school. The knobs will learn to take control of their process and learn to navigate the 4th Class System. You can be an encouraging presence. You cannot do this for them.

Related to Facebook is the tagging of your knob in photos. It is best not to tag photos you see on public sites. When you tag your knob the photo is then visible to their friends and family and they begin to post comments. The comments will be visible to the public. Most knobs want to keep a low profile. If you see a photo of your knob, download it and repost to your own page for your family and friends to see.

If at any time you have a concern, I encourage you to address the appropriate department on campus. If the question pertains to something in the company or barracks contact the TAC officer for the company or battalion. A confidential resource on campus is the ombudsperson’s office. They will take your calls or emails an answer your questions confidentially. You can find their contact information and other resources on the web page named H.E.L.P.

On Monday night the school will have a live stream presentation of the Oath Ceremony. You can find the details linked to the home page of the school web site or click here.

Starting this week and throughout the year you can see the schedule for the Corps of Cadets on the Office of the Commandant page. Once on the page click on Operations and Training, then Training Schedules , then look for the week you are interested in reading about. The schedule for this first week is titled, “August 16 – 24, 2014 (Company rotation schedule).” You will see the knobs are kept VERY busy in meetings all week.

Great Facebook pages to follow this year include:

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

The Citadel Alumni Association

The Citadel Sports

The Citadel – Department of Cadet Activities

The Citadel: Corps Day Weekend, 2014

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

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

We just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Charleston. Since my son was a cadet I have attended Corps Day Weekend each year. At first it was just fun to get away at the end of winter in Atlanta. Then my son’s junior year he became a member of the 2011 Summerall Guards. Each year since 2010 I’ve attended the ceremony Saturday morning to see the new class take over as the new Summerall Guards. I always get a photo of the person who now holds the same rifle my son once carried.

After the rifle exchange I was able to get this photo of Cadet Daniel Smith and Cadet Jason Wells. The rifle Jason is holding was once carried by my son. Daniel's father is also in the photo.

After the rifle exchange I was able to get this photo of Cadet Daniel Smith and Cadet Jacob Wells. The rifle Jacob is holding was once carried by my son. Daniel’s father is also in the photo.

Dorie visits with Professor Tiffany Silverman by the Monuments Men display in Capers Hall.

Dorie visits with Professor Tiffany Silverman by the Monuments Men display in Capers Hall.

In addition to the Saturday ceremony I always look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This year was no different. When we arrived on campus the first stop is usually Mark Clark Hall. After a quick visit with our friends in The Citadel Bookstore, we stopped by several battalions to drop off some goodies to a few cadets I keep in touch with each year. Once the cookies were delivered it was off to Capers Hall to meet with Professor Tiffany Silverman. She is doing an outstanding job of heading up Art at The Citadel. The cadets take classes in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, and woodworking. The program offers opportunities to volunteer and to gain internships. On April 3rd Art at The Citadel will host a lecture by Robert Edsel, author of the book Monuments Men. The event is free and open to the public. VIP tickets for a special reception and book signing are also available. I’ve been serving on the steering committee for the event. Friday was the first time I had the chance to meet Tiffany in person. What a treat!

Jason, Dorie and Paul visit during the parade Friday. Jason is reaching behind Dorie in this photo to tickle Paul. Too funny!

Jason, Dorie and Paul visit during the parade Friday. Jason is reaching behind Dorie in this photo to tickle Paul. Too funny!

At the parade Friday afternoon I met up with two alumni friends, Jason Perakis and Paul Tamburrino. Jason was in Bravo Company when he was a cadet. His son is now a sophomore. Paul and Jason were classmates. Together they are quite the comedy team. Paul and I first were introduced when his son was a knob and mine was a sophomore. We were both volunteers with the Citadel Family Association. Once my son graduated I thought my time as a volunteer was over. What I didn’t count on was the number of emails and phones calls I would get after people read my blog. Starting a Facebook group for new parents was the easiest way to post answers to the most commonly asked questions by parents. Paul joined me in the first 2016 parent group and continues to be the alumni voice in the 2017 & 2018 parent groups. After the parade Friday we gathered behind the stands by 2nd Battalion and met quite a few of the 2017 parents that until then we only knew from their Facebook profile pictures.

Friday evening we joined more friends for a fun dinner at Charleston Crab House on James Island. It is a great place to go if you don’t want to fight the in town traffic. The food was good,but the company and conversation was even better.

This year we stayed at the newly renovated Red Roof Inn Plus in Mt. Pleasant. Since I spend very little time in the hotel room during these visits I don’t like to spend a lot of money on a room. I called the hotel directly and they extended the military rate, $80.99, to me as the mom of a Citadel graduate. The rooms are clean and comfortable. It is an outside entrance motel set up. It was just right for our needs this trip.

Saturday morning we were up and on campus by 8:15 am. Several merchants had tables set up in Mark Clark Hall. A new addition this year was Stonewall Designs. Started by the wife and mom of a graduate they offer handmade pillows, winebags and coasters many feature designs inspired by The Citadel. You can visit the shop online at this link. It appears she is still building the web site and Facebook page. A friend asked me to pick up her son’s company composite and class photo for her.

The 2014 Summerall Guards wait for the 2015 Bond Volunteers to enter the field.

The 2014 Summerall Guards wait for the 2015 Bond Volunteers to enter the field.

It didn’t take long for the time to head for Summerall Field for the Summerall Guard rifle exchange ceremony to take place. My daughter saved a place for me by the rope and I went to 2nd battalion to snap a few photos of the 2014 Summerall Guards as they lined up. Then it was out to the space between 3rd and 2nd battalion for photos of the 2015 Bond Volunteers who in less than an hour became the 2015 Summerall Guards. When my son was a cadet I would never have gone to take these photos. He would have been too embarrassed. Now that he is a graduate and most of the guys do not know me, I find they are very happy to have their photos taken on this big day. I finished up the photos right as the 2014 Summerall Guards were walking onto the field. It was a good day to take photos. The overcast skies meant the photos turned out well with few shadows. After catching up with several friends and their new Summerall Guards, including the 2014 and 2015 cadets in the same position my son was in, we headed to 1st Battalion for the last few minutes of open barracks. Click here for the link to the Facebook album.

Chelle poses by the Bravo Company Letter in 1st Battalion.

Chelle poses by the Bravo Company Letter in 1st Battalion.

This was the first visit back to campus since 2011 for my daughter. She really wanted to have a photo taken of her next to the Bravo B. Several of the Bravo cadets we had me the day before were there. They told us the upperclassmen still evoke the name of my son to intimidate the knobs. We all had a good laugh. it was back to the parade field for the band concert before the parade. Two years ago at this concert I ended up in tears as cadets dressed in current military attire stepped forward as a patriotic song was played. A few months later my son was off for his first deployment. It was far more fun being there this year when I could just enjoy the music without the worry hanging over my head.

Regimental Commander Cadet Collin Hicks and his mother, Laura Hicks before the Saturday parade.

Regimental Commander Cadet Collin Hicks and his mother, Laura Hicks before the Saturday parade.

The Regimental Commander, Cadet Collins Hicks, arranged for us to sit with his parents during the awards parade. It was a treat to sit so close to the field for the parade and awards ceremony. Cadet Hicks is from Georgia. I’ve known the Hicks family since his knob year. The time has flown by so quickly. In a few short months the class of 2014 will become part of the long gray line and the Class of 2018 and their parents will begin preparing for Matriculation Day.

We successfully bid on the opportunity to fire the cannon during the football game parents Weekend!

We successfully bid on the opportunity to fire the cannon during the football game parents Weekend!

After another great lunch at the Marina Variety Store it was off to the Market for a little shopping followed by a fun evening at the Blue and White Bash to benefit the Brigadier Foundation. The dinner and auction were held in McAlister Fieldhouse. We enjoyed seeing a few friends and meeting new ones. After a couple of our bids on silent auction items were out bid far out of our price range we decided to bid on a chance to shoot the cannon during a football game on Parents Weekend. A friend did this last season and it sounded like a lot of fun. We placed our bid then hovered around the table until the bidding was closed. I know what I will be doing Parents Weekend, 2014!

We packed so much into a 48 hour period. I find myself looking through the photos I took to remember everything we did! I’m including a few of my favorites here. You can see the rest through the links below.

Friday Photos

2014 & 2015 Summerall Guards

Saturday Parade, Open Barracks, Blue and White Bash.

Sunday photos

At the parade Friday afternoon. Chelle told me Mr. Perakis was funny.

At the parade Friday afternoon. Chelle told me Mr. Perakis was funny.

During the parade Friday we visited with a few Bravo cadets and alumni.

During the parade Friday we visited with a few Bravo cadets and alumni.

Parents who met on Facebook meet in person after the Friday Parade.

Parents who met on Facebook meet in person after the Friday Parade.

The 2014 Summerall Guards assemble in 2nd Battalion before their final appearance.

The 2014 Summerall Guards assemble in 2nd Battalion before their final appearance.

The 2015 Bond Volunteers assemble between 3rd and 2nd Battalions.

The 2015 Bond Volunteers assemble between 3rd and 2nd Battalions.

the 2015 Bond Volunteers prepare to take their rifles and become the 2015 Summerall Guards.

the 2015 Bond Volunteers prepare to take their rifles and become the 2015 Summerall Guards.

The 2015 Summerall Guards during their first performance of The Citadel Series.

The 2015 Summerall Guards during their first performance of The Citadel Series.

The 2014 Summerall Guards look on as the 2015 Summerall Guards perform for the first time.

The 2014 Summerall Guards look on as the 2015 Summerall Guards perform for the first time.

In the summer of 2006 I visited The Citadel for the first time with my son, Matt and his father. He was in town for the weekend events. Like my son, Matt is now a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

In the summer of 2006 I visited The Citadel for the first time with my son, Matt and his father. He was in town for the weekend events. Like my son, Matt is now a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Each company decorates a bulletin board honoring the graduates who have deployed and the cadets on military contracts. This board in Bravo companies includes my son's name on the upper left side.

Each company decorates a bulletin board honoring the graduates who have deployed and the cadets on military contracts. This board in Bravo companies includes my son’s name on the upper left side.

Welcome to The Citadel Class of 2018

waitingwithboxesEach year at about this time the search terms on my blog feature words all related to knob year and preparations for knob year. I’ve written welcome entries to new families for four years now. The tips and advice in each entry still stand. The links are posted below. I highly recommend you read each one. In this entry I will spend some time on recommendations for the various required items knobs MUST bring each year.

For the third year in a row I’ve posted a Facebook group for new parents. This year’s group. The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 has over 20 members so far. In addition to new parents, the group includes a few parents of graduates who volunteer their time to answer questions about this first year at The Citadel. If you have a student who will be in the Class of 2018 at The Citadel, please send me an email to request to join the group, dorie@dorielgriggs.com.

Each year the new parents seem to focus on a different aspect of required or Nice to Have Item on the official Success packet list or the Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List.” The parents of the class of 2016 asked a lot of questions about fine grade sand paper. The 2017 parents focused on the types of men’s underwear to purchase. It may sound silly even to those same parents now, but at the time these parents just wanted to make sure they sent their cadet off with everything they needed to succeed.

The most important items on the “Nice to have list” are the iron and travel size ironing board. Your cadet will iron, a lot. Spray starch is nice to have. Ask your cadet what they will want from the list. Shoe polish, rags, fine grade sand paper, a small plastic box with general medications, like ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine, band aids, Neosporin, and mole skin for their feet, are all good ideas to bring.

The list of required items changes very little from year to year. You MUST check the official list when it is posted for the Class of 2018. It will be linked on a Matriculation Day Headquarters link as well as to the Commandant’s Matriculation Day page on the school website. For this entry I will post what was on the list for the Class of 2017 with notes about the various items.

NOTE: The information below has been  updated since the first publication for the Class of 2018. 7/20/15

From pages 6 – 7 in the Fourth Class Success Packet for the Class of 2019: (Items in BOLD are my recommendations/comments)

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket ,
which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not. One plastic mattress
cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.
All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:
One pair [1] of conservative style pajamas (optional)

Many cadets wear their PT (physical training) clothes not pajamas. a bathrobe is issued to them.
Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts

Double the amount of tee shirts (24) they should fit snuggly so as not to wrinkle under their uniform shirts.
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton underwear – at least 6 pair jockey shorts (male)

6 pairs of the “Tighty whitey” type men’s briefs are required. The 6 pair will be folded and kept in a drawer for inspections. Other type of underwear can be worn under uniforms. Many prefer the boxer briefs for under their uniform pants. The brands linked here are for example only. You can purchase whatever brand you prefer. DOUBLE the amount (24)
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs

This is pretty straight forward for the female cadets.
One pair [1] of “long johns”

Long underwear top and bottom in a thin material and solid color are used for under their heavy wool uniforms in the late fall early winter. You can send these at the Thanksgiving break.
Twelve pairs [12] of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. Thick cotton socks are best. the Gold toe brand is good, but other makes are fine too. Some prefer the more expensive military socks to keep from developing blisters. Double the number of pairs of socks (24)
[Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and
in some cases secondary infections.]
Twelve pairs [12] of white, cotton athletic socks

Thick white CREW LENGTH socks are needed for knobs. The Gold Toe brand is good but others are as well. Look for high cotton content and no logos. Watch for sales at your favorite stores.
One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece)

Mostly black or blue. Minimal piping/stitching is OK. Lands End usually carries them, but you can find them at other stores or on Amazon. Sample of the men’s suit. Women’s suits at Lands End or Speedo or Tyr brands are pretty easy to find in a range of sizes.

One pair [1] of shower shoes [black]

Six [6] white, cotton towels

Double the amount of towels. Purchase in expensive towels form a store like Walmart or Target. They end up using their towels to clean. Do not spend a lot of money on good towels.

Six [6] washcloths

Double the amount of towels and buy inexpensive towels. Walmart has 18 for $4.00

One [1] standard sized pillow
Four [4] white pillow cases

Buy inexpensive pillow cases.

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed

Be sure to buy very inexpensive FLAT, not fitted sheets. They also use these to make banners. Most cadets make their bed then sleep on top of the made bed. DO NOT buy expensive sheets.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs

You can find these in Walmart or Target stores.

Toilet articles

What ever shaving and person care items your cadet uses. Include bar soap or liquid body wash. they do not need a a carrying bag.

One pair [1] of good cross training shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color
such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Buy the brand that fits your cadet best. Be sure they are broken in prior to Matriculation Day.

One pair [1] of good running shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color such
as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Many cadets have the same she for cross training and running. Buy what fits best.

Three pairs [3] of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with
physical training uniform

Compression type shorts that are optional under PT clothes

One pair [1] of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must
be and colored with a plain or capped toe
Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material
are not authorized [The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but
large sizes may not be readily available. Be sure boots are “broken in” prior to
arrival to prevent foot problems.]  Bates Brand, M-8 Desert Assault boots, 8″Height Other brands are available. You can order them online. Some sporting goods sell them at a good price. I use Google to find good prices.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized no larger than 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. 

One [1] overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container may not exceed 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. 

Containers: Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the Container Store carry containers that will meet the specifications.

Two pairs [2] of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that do not meet this criteria. Be sure all shoes are “broken in” prior to arrival to prevent foot problems.

Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability.
Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.

Additional items for female cadets:

Five [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras
Five [5] white or beige sports bras
Five pairs [5] of neutral, black, or skin colored pantyhose

One pair of black, military style, leather or corfam, pumps with closed toe and
closed heel with a ½ to 1.5 inch heel. Shoes are not to have straps or
any kind of buckle or decorative styling.

I am told the female knobs to not really need the stockings and pumps the first year.

One black, leather or flat black vinyl military style handbag, no larger than 8 ½ by
11 inches, with or without shoulder strap. Suede handbags are not
authorized. Handbag may have a handle or shoulder strap with a buckle.
Handbag may not have any decorative styling.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding, cadets shipping their belongings to the college must
bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and their pillow for use until they can access their
belongings.

The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:

One desk reading lamp
One picture with frame – no larger than 8”x10”

Most knobs do not keep a photo on their desk

One radio/stereo/CD player/tape recorder/player – speakers must be no larger
than 12”x 24”

It is best to wait to have a device like this until after Parents Weekend.

Computer and printer

For the school computer recommendations see this link.  If your cadet uses a MAC there is an Apple store in Charleston.

Alarm clock
Oscillating fan ONLY – box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized

Not needed in all barracks.

LUGGAGE

If you pack in card board boxes and trash bags there is no need to use the storage facility.

Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight
travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of
the cadet.

Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly
marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street,
Charleston, SC, 29409.

Previous entries about knob year preparations:

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Knob Year Notes for Parents

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first Day

Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.

Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.

The Citadel: Tips for Commencement Week 2014

2013 Long Gray Line

2013 Long Gray Line

It may only be January, but it is time to plan for graduation in May. It may even be a little late to start if you plan on renting a home for the week. Links to hotel information and other places to stay are in this previous post. It is always a good idea to call the area hotels directly and ask if they offer a special rate for Citadel families.

The schedule for the week is available on the school website under Commencement 2014. Many families come into town Wednesday or earlier and make a week of it. The seniors are out of the barracks before the other cadets so count on them staying with you. Graduates who are commissioning and/or who are Legacies should see this link for their special schedule.

As every other cadet event, the cadets have practice during the days for all the events from the commissioning ceremonies for military contract graduates, to the long grey line, legacies, and commencement. Their evenings are free.

A friend gave me a heads up about graduation week. While we all want to spend time with our soon to be graduate, it hits the seniors sometime leading up to graduation that they will no longer be able to see their buddies by walking out of their room in the barracks. They try to get as much time with their friends as possible before they spread across the globe in their various new roles.

Some families get together with others and host parties for companies. Others have small family gatherings. It is totally up to the individual families. I wrote about the little things i did graduation week to say thank you to various people on campus that I came to call friends.

If you are just getting started on your plans, a place to stay should be at the top of your list. Meal planning is next, especially if you will have a large group dining out. For help in finding facilities the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great resource. The area hotels have restaurants and meeting facilities, but they can also offer suggestions.

The attire for the baccalaureate ceremony, commissioning ceremony, the parade and garden party is listed as casual, but many families dress a little nicer than just casual. Of course you need to dress for the weather too. In 2011 it rained for the Friday afternoon long grey line parade. We ended up so soaked we skipped the reception at the President’s home.  In all the photos I’ve seen from other years the ladies wear light sun dresses, nice slacks and similar outfits. For the commissioning ceremony many wear jacket and tie as would match the attire the new officers will be wearing. Most people don’t have the time to change between events so they wear something comfortable, but nice for all the events.

You will want to plan on dinner Friday, and a late lunch Saturday after graduation. Dinner Saturday night is another opportunity to plan a gathering. The recent graduates may also have various parties they will want to visit. Like everything else over the four years, the events outside of the planned school functions, will vary with each graduate. A good resource, in addition to the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, for restaurants is Zagat’s.

Gifts ideas for graduates are infinite. Some families give gifts to their cadet’s friends. Some knobs families give senior mentors gifts. It is totally up to the individual as to what you give or if you give a gift. A nice card is always appropriate. The Citadel Alumni Association also has some nice gifts available through their site.

The Citadel Bookstore sells diploma frames. Blazer buttons, and various jewelry items are also a nice gift.

The Citadel Alumni Association offers a steep discount on their Lifetime Memberships for junior and senior cadets. It makes a terrific graduation present. They host a special luncheon/presentation gathering Thursday afternoon. The new Lifetime members are presented with their plaque during the event.

A nice gift for a graduate to give their mother is the special miniature Citadel ring or pendant. It is pricey so they may need help from dad to purchase it for their mom.

I’ll include a few links below to previous posts that include other gift ideas and links.

The cadets spend four years waiting to graduate, then spend the rest of their lives trying to get back. Enjoy the week of events and take lots of photos!

If you would like to get together with other families in your cadets family and hire a photographer, I happen to be married to a very good one, Stanley Leary.  You can see some of his Citadel photos here. Of course there are others in the area too.

Other posts about graduation:

The Citadel: Tips from One Parent for Graduation Weekend

The Citadel Recognition Day and Graduation Gift Ideas

Finding Gifts for Your Citadel Cadet

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Grey Line

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet

Updated Hotel Information

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