Fishburne Military School - Review #4
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1986-1988|
|Sports and Activities:||Fishburne offers numerous sports and extra curricular activities. I was never into sports much, but was always encouraged to try. Whether it be swimming, or track or military involvement there is something for everyone. I loved the military, so my activities tended to sway that way. I was part of the Rangers, what they now call the Raiders. As a part of that we would learn tactics, navigation, the importance of physical activity and above all teamwork. We would have trips off campus to go in to the mountains for practical exercises, as well as classes relating to specialized military topics. I enjoyed all I did with the Rangers and learned quite a bit. I was also part of the Special Honors Unit which was responsible for formal Honors during parades and reviews. We provided twenty one gun salutes and even funeral escorts. Today, the unit has a cannon which is used during reviews and special events. I knew many cadets who were involved in theatre, or Key Club etc. If there is something that you enjoy, you most likely will find it. During my second year I became assistant to the Corps S-3 and worked in the JROTC Office doing clerical work and answering phones. This also included being assistant to the officer in charge of the armory. I aided in maintaining and security of the armory. For a young man who loved the military, Fishburne lived up to my expectations. The school has been a JROTC Honor Unit with distinction, which we have held for over fifty years. This is not easily attainable and was awarded to the Corps as a whole. For me this was great. Simply put cadets took pride in the distinction and made sure we were sharp enough to maintain it. Although I focused on military, Fishburne offers numerous extra curricular activities and community activities. Community involvement was, and remains, important. I remember helping with a terrible flood in 85' and the cadets'still do blood drives and other community activities. Fishburne has something for everyone.|
|Home Town, State:||Charlotte, NC|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
It is difficult for me to answer this question concisely, as there are numerous things unique to Fishburne Military School. I attended Fishburne during the mid 80's, however what was relevant to me then remains so today. When I was looking at military schools with my parents, I remember being impressed by Fishburne's size. Fishburne is located in Waynesboro Virginia, and sits a top a hill overlooking the town. It's old Gothic architecture and well maintained buildings impressed me. When I walked through the archway for the first time I noticed a beautiful quadrangle surrounded by cadet rooms and classrooms. What was unique about this? I noticed cadets and professors interacting all within one smaller area. I felt a sense of community that I had not seen at other schools. I was impressed by the size of the school. Having an capacity of just under two hundred cadets was what I was looking for. Other schools were too large, or simply not as well maintained. I told my parents after the tour that Fishburne is where I wanted to go. There is something to be said for a smaller institution. Being smaller, Fishburne has a student teacher ratio of around 8/1. This remains the same today. The ratio is extremely important; in that, I was afforded more one on one time with professors who cared. I have to say the professors I had truly, truly cared about me personally and academically. To have professors who were there to lend an ear for emotional support was important for me. Professors who readily made themselves available for anything gave me the support I was in need of. I remember that the staff knew every cadet by name, and were always there to help. It was the sense of community which made the school unique.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Living in a boarding school is a great experience. The successes and failures are mutually shared amongst you and your friends. As I said, the bonds formed last a lifetime and are truly brotherly. I experienced great times and some bad times, but you are not alone. This, in itself, helps one to be more self reliant, confident and mature. You have opportunities not afforded to those in regular schools. Opportunity such as learning to get along and live with all types of people and cultures. We had cadets from all over the world and I grew as a person by knowing them. Responsibility is a large part of Fishburne life and learning responsibility is a natural part of living at school. You become responsible for your actions and the actions of others. The Honor Code is a large part of the foundation of life at Fishburne. Cadets are responsible for being truthful and forthright. It is important to take the Honor Code seriously. A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. Those words are a framework for life. Those are words to live by, and no one wants to be drummed out for an offense. I learned discipline, character and responsibility at Fishburne. I would not change anything. You learn who you are and what you are capable of doing. One cannot ask for more.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My advice for any young man who wants to attend Fishburne would be simple; jump in, become involved and you will have some of the best years of your life.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I cannot point to one specific thing I liked the most. To me, probably the sense of seizing life and the comradery that forms within the walls of the school.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I would say go and you will find out. You will not regret it. I have friends I can count on even today. I wouldn't change it for the world.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academically Fishburne has a one hundred percent college acceptance rate, and maintains that to this day. As I mentioned earlier, the professors are extremely supportive and helpful. They actually care and are involved with each cadet. I remember the pride I felt my first year when I received the Military Order of World Wars medal for military and scholastic achievement. I was proud because most first year cadets, at least then, did not receive the "good" medals at the end of the year. By putting myself into academics and military, I was noticed and rewarded. I think the best part academically was the professors, as I said. It makes a world of difference when a professor knows you and truly cares about you as a person. Those same professors I have seen since and they still remember me.......that is saying something. The curriculum is competitive and at times difficult, but there is always extra help available. Whether it be study hall or simply having a professor give you individual help on their time, everyone wants to see you succeed. One grows in confidence and maturity through academics and events such as public speaking. I remember being terrified at the prospect of speaking publicly. My mind was put to ease when Col. Young, knowing I was nervous, helped me build the confidence to be able to do it and get through it. I have no problem with speaking in public now thanks to him. No matter what the issue is academically, the professors and staff make sure you will succeed and become confident in yourself.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
When it comes to sports, I was never terribly involved. That being said there is always intramural sports and activities to be involved in. I remember our basketball team was excellent and I enjoyed having to watch the games at home in support of the team. Fishburne offers all major sports and places emphasis on having cadets involved. I learned it is not important to be the best, rather give it your best. Sportsmanship is equal across the board and everyone is included. Whether you play football or soccer, the coaches encourage you to simply do your best. Sports are important for mind and body, and no matter your level of expertise you will be welcomed.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Fishburne has a theatre club which produces plays throughout the year. I never was in theatre, but those who were enjoyed it. I knew a few cadets in theatre, and they always had a great time. Fishburne has expanded it's arts programming and everyone is encouraged to attend or be involved. Even without women, Fishburne managed to have outside help come in. They also have ties to the local community arts programming and cultural trips and diversity.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Fishburne offers a wide range of extra curricular activities both in school and in the community. From Key Club, to donating blood, to helping the community there is plenty to do. The National Honor Society and Who's Who are pursued by most cadets. Cadets help local kids with tutoring and reading amongst other things. Community involvement is important, as is civic duty.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
What can I say about dorm living? I would have to say the most important thing is friends. The barracks are the cadets' homes and it is treated that way. Comradery and helping each other are important. The barracks are disciplined, but fair. The showers and bathrooms are easily accessible and clean. Cadets are responsible for their rooms and common areas, and room inspection is a weekly ordeal. Once one becomes used to the routine, barrack's life becomes second nature. The barracks are all in the same area and during the week are more disciplined than on the weekends. Cadets enjoy simply hanging out with friends, and there is always something to do in one room or another. Movies, hanging out, relaxing and letting go of stress are all part of life in the barracks. Town leave on the weekends is always something to look forward to, although you can remain at school. Usually each room has two cadets. You get to know your roommate well, but can always request a change if you find yourselves annoying each other. Two beds to each room with a desk for both and a press for both to put uniforms in. The barracks are old, but well maintained and updated. As I mentioned the barracks become home in a short time-frame. Time is structured during the week and mandatory study periods exist in the evening. Taps used to be 2200hrs and Tac officers are there at night to ensure safety and adherence to rules. Once you become used to barracks life, it is home and routine.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
When I attended Fishburne, the mess hall was run by cadets and an old army chef. Today the food is catered from outside. Cadets still help with the mess hall as a means to aid in paying tuition. No one is required to work in the mess hall. The mess hall itself is a large room with tables and a serving area up front. The building, which is attached to the barracks, is clean and decorated with old photos and pictures. Long tables are aligned to sit at as a company. The Mess Sargent is a cadet position and part of cadet staff. Meals were balanced and good when I attended, and today the catering is good. I have eaten there when returning for Alumni Weekend. I had no complaints. As I said, companies march to the mess hall and stand at attention until the order to sit is given. You eat with your company and after sitting you are free to talk and interact with other cadets. Some of the best conversations happen in the mess hall, and everyone looks forward to eating.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Waynesboro Virginia is a quaint small town along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town has come a long way since the eighties, but is a small town. When I attended, town leave was always fun. We had town leave on Saturday and Sunday after church. Church is mandatory for all cadets who are religious. You go to the church of your religion, or another. After church town leave begins. The town of Waynesboro appreciate the cadets and there are restaurants and parks, as well as shopping. I enjoyed town, as I met a young woman whose parents used to cook for me. I loved eating there. Once there for a while, cadets become accustomed to the town and what they can and cannot do. The area is beautiful and if you like nature, it is a perfect picture of an old mountain town. The town is safe and people are accommodating.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
What I liked about social life was the comradery. When you live with everyone you truly get to know them. The bonds formed last a lifetime, as Fishburne has a great Alumni Association which remains active long after leaving school. Living among other students gives you a unique look at different cultures and people. The bonds you form last forever and we all get together throughout the year and at Alumni Weekend in April at Fishburne.
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