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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


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 ūüėČ ¬†photo by Michael Givens




Notes for New Citadel Families


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matriculation Day, 2016

Matriculation Sunday

Matriculation Sunday Evening

Challenge Week – Monday

Oath Ceremony


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

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 РRing 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 РCoffee 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 Р10:00 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.


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

Hotels That Offer Discounts to Citadel Families

The Boat Center at The Citadel.

The picnic tables by the boat house. My favorite place on campus.

Each year I am asked about the best hotels to stay in when parents visit the school. The city is a very popular tourist destination and there are a wide variety of properties to choose from that range from luxury hotels to discount properties. Some families prefer to rent a home or condo and stay at Folly Beach or Isle of Palms. Vacation Rental Buy Owner vrbo.com is one good resource or check out any number of realtors in the area.

The following are a list of properties that offer discounts to Citadel families.

The Citadel has a link on their website to a page with hotels that offer a discount use this link to access discounts to eight hotels.

I’ve called each of the following hotels. They all have a special rate, but you need to book early and call the hotel directly to get a hotel room in the discounted block. Discount sites like hotels.com and using your AAA card can help too.

Charleston Marriott Use the link for a discounted rate. (click on the highlighted hotel name) Their phone number, 843-723 3000

Hampton Inn Airport 843-554-7154¬†ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Hawthorn Suites call 843-225-4411 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Home2Suites call 843-744-4202¬†ask for “The Citadel Rate”

LaQuinta Inn & Suites Charleston Riverview 843-556-5200¬†ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Red Roof Inn Plus 843-884-1411 select the Front Desk option¬†ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Wingate by Wyndham 843-553-4444¬†ask for “The Citadel Rate”

If you have a favorite property you stay at during visits, leave a comment on this post.

Our 2014 Ring Weekend Adventure, Part 2

Bravo knobs and cadre prepare for the promotion ceremony.

Bravo knobs and cadre prepare for the promotion ceremony.

Saturday of Ring Weekend we were determined to make the best of our altered situation. Stanley had to stay in the hotel room and rest his foot. He couldn’t see an orthopedic doctor until we returned to Roswell on Monday anyway. After bringing him breakfast and a few other goodies to leave him the afternoon, Chelle and I headed to The Citadel. It was later than we had hoped but we did manage to get to campus before the barracks closed.

The knobs made a Johnny Bravo Banner to honor the seniors.

The knobs made a Johnny Bravo Banner to honor the seniors.

We made quick stops at 4th battalion and 2nd battalion to leave cookies for a few cadets. We arrived at 1st Battalion with just enough time before the knob promotion ceremony to walk up the stairs to 4th division (the fourth floor) to visit a few knobs. Our tradition for the four years my son was a cadet was to go to the 4th floor and bring candy to knobs. We missed quite a few of them but did manage to give candy to a few parents of knobs to pass along. It was fun to see the proud faces of family members as they visited with the knobs. For many it was the first time on campus since the August matriculation day. Chelle was busy taking photos and video of the vents that morning. I took a few photos of the Bravo Company banner and the promotion ceremony. It all brought back so many memories.

Once the barracks closed we walked to eh parade field near the jet named Annette. We hoped to meet a few of the 2018 families I have corresponded with through Facebook. The first friends we ran into were alumni, Paul Tamburrino and his 1989 classmate, Jim Watkins. Last March Chelle and I met them both at the fundraising event hosted by The Citadel Brigadier Foundation.

Good friends, Paul Tamburrino, Dorie and Jim Watkins visit before the parade.

Good friends, Paul Tamburrino, Dorie and Jim Watkins visit before the parade.

It was fun to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was fun to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

It wasn’t long before more parents began to arrive. Introductions were made and the visiting commenced. Of course we managed to get a group photo in too. I was surprised by a few moms who gave me gifts that day. One 2018 mom gave me a small silver cannon charm. She knew I was excited for my opportunity to shoot the cannon at the football game later that day. Another mom presented me with a tea towel with several South Carolina landmarks illustrated on it. During the parade a long time friend gave me two cookies with the Citadel “C” and a Bulldog on it. And a big surprise came when one 2018 mom sent a message that she had “my glass,” and she asked where to find me. By that time Chelle and I were eating BBQ at the Holliday Alumni Center. (The food was great and the AC on that 90+ degree day was heaven-sent!) It turns out this thoughtful mom had decorated a wine glass with a Bulldog on one side and on the other she wrote “Citadel Yoda” on it. A name the 2018 moms gave me on the Facebook group. I am overwhelmed with the generosity of these families.

It was time to go to the game. It was a bit sad that Stanley was stuck at the hotel. This was going to be the weekend that he finally met my Citadel friends. Where ever we went people asked about him. One very thoughtful father of a 2017 cadet, Michael Givens, asked what he could do to help. I asked him if he would take a few photos of me shooting the cannon at half-time. Michael is a very talented cinematographer and photographer. I was thrilled to hear he would meet us by the cannons before half-time.

I was instructed how to shoot the cannon by Cadet Goodwin.

I was instructed how to shoot the cannon by Cadet Goodwin.

As it turned out it was just too hot for us in the stands. We didn’t even make it to our seats. We made the best of it though and visited with cadets under the stands. By second quarter we headed to the cannons for me to receive my instructions on how to fire the cannon. The TAC officer there introduced me to a cadet officer who instructed me how to fire the cannon. A long cord was attached to the pin in the cannon. At the designated time I was to unwind the cord, and take several steps away from the cannon while holding the cord with the wooden handle. Once the cord was taught I was to wait for her signal to pull the cord to shoot the cannon.

I caught up with a Roswell High School graduate during the third quarter.

I caught up with a Roswell High School graduate during the third quarter.

Cadet Goodwin and Chelle discovered they both love Harry Potter.

Cadet Goodwin and Chelle discovered they both love Harry Potter.

I spent the time waiting for half-time talking to a few knobs and other cadets. I was surprised to meet a cadet from our hometown. Michael Givens arrived to shoot the photos. We waited for the end of the second quarter. When it was time things moved very quickly. I unrolled the cord, took a few steps until the cord was taut and waited for my signal. Six shots were fired then Cadet Goodwin dropped her arm to signify it was time to shoot the cannon. I held the wooden handle with both hands and also grasped my pants pocket. Taking a step away from the cannon while also turning away from the cannon I pulled the cord. The sound that followed felt like it went through my chest. The smoke billowed outward in a circle. I shot the cannon!! Chelle was right next to me and let out a little scream with the BOOM. How fun! A cadet came up and gave me the pin and the charge from the cannon to keep as a souvenir. I think I’ll put them in the frame with the series of photos Michael took.

Michael Givens got this terrific shot right when the cannon went off.

Michael Givens got this terrific shot right when the cannon went off.

While there was still two quarters to go in the game it felt like, at least to me, that the biggest event was over. Chelle and I stayed by the cannons and visited with a few friends during third quarter. I even got to meet the new commandant of cadets, Capt. Gene Paluso. It turns out he knows a high school friend who was also a Navy Seal. We left the cannon area and went up to a box to watch the end of an exciting game. It felt so good to be in air conditioning, but it had been a long day and we had not talked to Stanley at all. At the end of the second over time period we made our way back to the car and on to the hotel to check on Stanley.

Our fun day ended with a very good dinner at Coleman’s Public House in Mt. Pleasant. A good friend recommended we try it and it was definitely a great place to add to our favorites list.

Stanley’s foot was bothering him a bit so we went directly back to the hotel to rest. Once we got back to Roswell and to the doctor he gave Stanley a walking boot to wear. It was a huge relief to learn he would not require surgery.

The big weekends at The Citadel go by so quickly. I’m glad I too took some photos to remember everything we did over the weekend! You can see my photos from Saturday here.


Parents’ Weekend/Ring Weekend, 2014

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings. photo by Stanley Leary

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings.
photo by Stanley Leary

Each year at this time the searches for information on Parents’ Weekend light up my search stats for the blog. Since not much changes from year to year, I am posting the answers to the frequently asked questions and providing a link to previous blog posts on the topic.

The schedule for the weekend can be found on the home page of the school website, or by clicking HERE.

The schedule for the companies to go through the ring is on the weekly training schedule for October 6 – 12, click HERE, and scroll to the week’s schedule.

The dress for senior parents: for the afternoon ring presentation at 12:55, the cadets are in their most formal uniform. We decided to wear nice clothes for this event as well. You will see a little of everything.

The Ring Ceremony is when seniors traditionally escort their mother through the replica of the ring. It is really just an opportunity for a photo, but it is still a very meaningful event. Traditionally moms wear a long formal dress. You will see some in a cocktail type dress. Some cadets escort a girlfriend or other family member along with their mother.

other friends and family can watch from the stands. They do not have to wear formal attire.

Some cadets get a group together to eat before or after walking through the ring. The timing for dinner depends on when you go through the ring and the preference of the group. In 2010 Bravo company had an 8:30pm time so we went to dinner at 5:30 then went to campus. The cadets wore their blazers to dinner then changed. The moms wore their gowns to dinner.

The family and friends of the members of the Junior Sword Arch like to attend the beginning of the ceremony. Anyone can attend the event, but usually it is just the JSA families and friends, and the family and friends of seniors.

Saturday morning the barracks open and the four Kelly Cup squads compete. The knobs are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates in a ceremony in front of their company letter.

The parade is at 11:00, followed by lunch. The cadets only have 45 minutes so packing a picnic or eating in the mess hall are the best bet. You do need tickets to eat in the mess hall. See the calendar linked above for that information.  After knob year some families just opt to tailgate for lunch.

It tends to still be warm in Charleston in October. Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you’ll be prepared with the right clothes.

The Summerall Guards perform during halftime of the football game.

After the football game the cadets have general leave.

Sunday the cadets have general leave for most of the day.

I am looking forward to being on campus for the first time since 2010. Last Spring I had the winning bid at the Brigadier Foundation fundraiser to shoot the cannon at halftime of the football game. My husband will be on the sideline shooting the game (Stanley is a photographer). My daughter and I will shoot the cannon then head back to the stands.

I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting many of the people. I only know through Facebook.

A variety of photos from Friday night of Ring Weekend

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

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

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

Saturday morning promotion ceremony photos:

Senior cadet and a member of the 2008 Summerall Guards, Mike Mason talks to his knob mentee, Nelson Lalli during the 4th Class promotion ceremony, October 2007. Both men are now graduates and officers int eh U.S. Army.

Senior cadet and a member of the 2008 Summerall Guards, Mike Mason talks to his knob mentee, Nelson Lalli during the 4th Class promotion ceremony, October 2007. Both men are now graduates and officers int eh U.S. Army.

Bravo '11 knobs do their push ups with the cadre after receiving their company letter.

Bravo ’11 knobs do their push ups with the cadre after receiving their company letter.

Bravo Company knobs face the Company Commander during the promotion ceremony, 2007.

Bravo Company knobs face the Company Commander during the promotion ceremony, 2007.

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent's Weekend. photo by Seth Ruff

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent’s Weekend.
photo by Seth Ruff

The promotion ceremony, 2010. photo by Stanley Leary

The promotion ceremony, 2010.
photo by Stanley Leary

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