Looking forward to Graduation at The Citadel, 2017

Dismissed
Class of 2015 Dismissed!

Each year in February the questions from a variety of parents pick up. The senior parents are looking toward graduation and commissioning. I’ve added a few notes about the end of the year below.

Keep an eye out for the updated graduation schedule. I checked this morning and the 2016 schedule of events is still posted. You can use that schedule as a guideline for this year but watch for updates. A few general notes:

  • Tickets are limited. For the past several years each cadet gets 8 tickets. They can put their name in a lottery for extras but that is not guaranteed. Sometimes they can get a few from classmates who won’t use their allotment.
  • Since tickets are limited to graduation some families rent a house and have the graduation live stream connected to a large screen TV for the guests who can’t be at the event.
  • It is traditional to send out announcements for college graduation. Again traditionally announcements are sent to anyone who would want to know about this big life event. They are sent out the week of or after graduation. The recipient is not obligated to send a gift when they receive an announcement. It is a good time to announce the commissioning of a graduate who is entering the armed forces. You can also put a card with the new contact information for the graduate since they will no longer use the school’s address to receive mail. These small cards are referred to as “at home” cards to indicate the graduate will be at their new home after a certain date. The tradition of an at home card is an old one and has changed over time as to the meaning. You can read the history here.
  • Many families use the online announcement company Signature. They are nice quality, but a better price than what Balfour offers.
  • Commissioning services happen the Friday before graduation. Be in touch with your senior for the updated details on the ceremony. It is traditional for the newly commissioned second lieutenant to give the person who renders their first salute a silver dollar. You can usually find them online.
  • For those commissioning they will have to order and pay for their dress uniform. That process is usually started by now. The expense surprises many parents.
  • The seniors have to be out of the barracks by Thursday night of graduation week, unless they’ve requested and received an exception. Be sure you plan for this when making your accommodation reservations.
  • Many families give their graduate a Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. There is a special luncheon for the new Lifetime members during graduation week.
  • Like most big weekends, graduation weekend is a time of great activity. Dress for the weather and for comfort in walking. If the weather is warm many ladies wear light dresses for the commissioning service and long gray line parade. The gentleman wear jacket and tie for the commissioning and more casual attire for the afternoon parade. For graduation, business attire is appropriate, a dress or nice slacks for the ladies and jacket and tie for the gentleman.
  • Saturday morning arrive at the field house for graduation early to find a seat. In 2011 we were given assigned seats. The past several years it is open seating. Saving seats is discouraged. If you have young children attending, bring quiet distractions for them like coloring books and light snacks. The ceremony lasts about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. I played The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo” with my daughter who was in 6th grade at the time her brother graduated. We had a list of my son’s friends and she tried to find them as they sat waiting for their name to be called.
  • Have a plan of where you are to meet after the ceremony. Some families meet on the floor of the field house some meet outside the building. It is helpful to have a plan ahead of time.

Previous posts about graduation:

Graduation 2015 Notes for Citadel Parents

The Citadel: Tips from One Parent for Graduation

Senior Parent Notes

A 1972 grad remembers his Summerall Guard and inauguration experiences

2011 Summerall Guard photo by Stanley Leary
The 2011 Summerall Guards photo by Stanley Leary

When my oldest son deployed in 2012 I began to see the larger network of The Citadel in action. A friend at church, Col. William Buckley, USMC (ret) introduced me via email to a friend of his from his days as a cadet at The Citadel, LTC Walter “Wally” McTernan, USMC (ret), Citadel class of 1972. Wally, as I’ve come to call him, was, and still is, in Afghanistan as a contractor.

While my son was deployed Wally looped me into correspondence with a wide array of Citadel graduates. I sent care packages to some with the help of friends from church Citadel parents, military reporters, and others.

Thanks to Wally I learned helpful advice of what to send deployed service members. Things like Saran wrap that could be used to stop bleeding in the field. I learned how broad reaching The Citadel network really is, even including the clueless mom of a graduate.

I also learned that Wally is a great story-teller and organizer. He coordinates the alumni in country for an annual Muster to honor the fallen graduates. He was recognized by the Citadel Alumni Association for his volunteer work in 2014 being named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. I also learned of his love of Crystal Light Peach tea.

My son is out of the Army now and working in his new career based in Houston. Wally and I continue to correspond. With the news of the Summerall Guards and the Regimental Band and Pipes marching in the inauguration parade in January Wally’s latest email tells the story of his experience in participating in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in 1972 and another story of the inauguration of President George Bush in 1989. I am sharing his story it here with his permission.

A story by LTC Walter F. McTernan, USMC (retired), The Citadel class of 1972:

“The 1972 Summerall Guards marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in WDC in early April 1971.  Luckily for me I was in position 1A1 (first squad leader, front rank) – because we were marching behind a mounted unit, and there were a lot of  “horse apple IED’s” on the road.  So I was luckily able to adroitly avoid stepping on/in them.  Of course, keeping established discipline, I did not say anything. I chuckled inside every time I heard a softly muttered “shxt” by someone in a follow-on rank who haplessly “stepped in it” (literally).  After the parade, I noticed the stark visual contrast in color between horse shxt brown and starched cadet FD trou white.

     During the Jan. 1989 Inaugural of President Bush-I, I was assigned on a TAD/TDY basis to be a temporary military aide to the first Drug Czar, Dr. John Bennett. (I was assigned to this post by the legendary Captain (later Colonel) Mike Riley, USMCR (Ret.) ’79, who was a big player in the military committee supporting the Inaugural.  (I served with Mike three times – Okinawa with the 3d Mar Div, HQMC and Baghdad at HQ, USF-I), and that alone ought to have earned me a high level medal.)

     Mrs. Bennett was expecting and was not feeling well, so we departed the Inauguration Ceremony early; got in the VIP sedan awaiting us behind the Capitol, and began to depart the area.  We drove past a contingent of Cid cadets forming up to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in the parade.  Dr. Bennett recognized them as Citadel cadets and commented that the phrase “zero tolerance” (of illegal drug abuse) that he used was a phrase he had borrowed from the late and great MG James Grimsley, USA (Ret.) ’42.  Dr. B. said that he had given a greater issues speech at The Citadel, and he had asked the General what was his policy on drug abuse.  MG Grimsley replied, “zero tolerance.” Dr. Bennett said that phrase really resonated within him and he used it ever since.  Mrs. Bennett commented that a close family friend of hers while growing up was Dr. Ira Rapp (Regimental CO ’70).  Mrs. B. and Ira’s sister were best friends growing up.

     That night I escorted the Bennet’s to dinner at a fancy WDC restaurant before taking them to an Inaugural Ball.  I waited for them in the lobby.  I was approached by the late political humor columnist, Art Buchwald, who had given Greater Issue speeches twice at The Citadel, one of which I saw when I was a cadet.  Mr. Buchwald was a Marine in WW-II, so when he saw a Marine officer, he came up to chat amiably.  He was very funny and unpretentious.  While we were chatting, a gentleman came up to speak to Mr. Buchwald.  Art was clearly continuing to chat with me just to keep this guy waiting.  While impatiently waiting, the poor (figuratively, NOT literally) guy was accosted by a couple of society matrons who hit him up for a donation to their favorite charity.  This fellow was one Mr. Donald Trump, whose own Inauguration we will soon celebrate.  Thus bringing the 2017 SG’s and our world-class Band Company to WDC.

     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 to you all. God bless.”

Gifts for Your Cadet

Wearables

Each year at Christmas time and the end of the school year parents of cadets at The Citadel begin to think of gift items either for their cadet or one that has been particularly helpful to their cadet. It’s a bit late for this advice to be helpful for this year’s Christmas but the ideas below will stand for any occasion, including graduation.

Gift Cards for restaurants and movie theaters in the area are always welcomed. Knobs won’t be able to have food delivered to the barracks until after Recognition Day, but they do get into town on the weekends. Popular restaurants include Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mama Kim’s, Jim’n Nick’s BBQ, and Sticky Fingers. There are many more restaurants in Charleston, just call them to see if they offer gift cards. Restaurant gift cards make a nice gift for host families too.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and other online entertainment options are popular with cadets. This gift may be a better option after knob year.

Other gift ideas for cadets include: A watch, coffee maker or hot-pot, good sunglasses, small 6 pack cooler, a good pillow, noise canceling headphones.

If they are a hunter items like a good hunting knife or other equipment.

Some cadets enjoy gift cards for an experience like skydiving, a boat/fishing trip or other activity.

Ideas for the graduating senior include:

Lifetime Membership in the CAA

Citadel Blazer buttons or other jewelry

A nice picture frame with a photo from Ring weekend or other occasion

A Big Red Flag or Company Guidon.

Any number of items from the Bookstore on Campus

Of course for the young grad who will set up their first apartment or home, cash is always welcomed!

Links to previous posts about gifts can be found on this link.

 

The Citadel: Parent Information for Starting the Year

IMG_4006 (1)
A member of the class of 2019 turns in his cell phone to the first sergeant on Matriculation Day 2015.

A few parents in the Facebook group for 2020 parents have joined this week. We are now at 497 members of the group. All members are 2020 parents along with five parents of grads who help answer questions.

Most Matriculation Day and Weekend information can be found on the school website and this blog, but to make it easier to find I’ll include a few links here:

The Matriculation Headquarters page has the essential information. Read every link and all hyper links on the pages.

The Commandant’s Matriculation Information page is linked on the Matriculation Headquarters page and also has essential information.

My previous blog post about Matriculation Weekend includes some tips for parents.

Saturday, August 13 at 5:30 there is a dinner planned for 2020 families. The Charleston Citadel Club is hosting the event and allowing us to use their registration system. Advance reservations are required, Register HERE. Just enter Parent of Student from the drop down menu when it asks for Company name. Members of The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Alumni Association are also helping with the event.

The Citadel main web site has a page for parents which includes helpful information including this page titled What to expect on Matriculation Day.

Another important link on the parents page of the school web site is for all parents and cadets to review titled Important Conversations to have with incoming Freshman and Upper Class.

The Useful Links page on the parent’s page is also a good one to book mark.

On this blog site there is a page called Helpful Web Links to help you find the web pages parents use most often as well as helpful blog posts.

Book mark this entry for easy reference later. Enjoy the time you have left with your soon-to-be knob. You’ve got this.

The Citadel Class of 2020: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day check in
Matriculation morning the knobs and their families report to the Holliday Alumni center early to receive their company assignments.

Across the country high school seniors are graduating. In the South the graduations have already begun. In the North June tends to be graduation month. That means families getting their students ready for Matriculation Day at The Citadel are turning their focus to getting things for their soon-to-be Knob.

The school will post an updated list of items the new students are required to have. (you can view the previous year’s information on page 6 of this document. it changes very little from year to year.) The Citadel Family Association also has a list of items that families have found helpful to have. It is called the “Nice to Have List.” You do not need everything on the Nice to Have List. Parents should ask their student what they would like from that list since they will be the ones to go through the 4th Class System.

I will pause here to give a word of advice to parents. Your student will be attending a leadership school. I’ve written previously about what I learned about what that means. The hardest, but most regarding lesson for parents of cadets is this, your student will have to be the one to navigate the rules and regulations of the school. You can help them get ready to report, but once they are on campus the students are the ones who must take control of their process. Your role will move from one of guiding and teaching your child, to the role of encourager and support person. You WILL NOT be able to navigate the system for them day to day.

Knob reports
Matriculation morning the knobs and their families report to the Holliday Alumni center early to receive their company assignments.

This first year is a rollercoaster of emotions for the knobs. My advice to parents is to avoid getting on that rollercoaster with your student. Obviously you will be concerned, but try to remember that the challenges your student will encounter are learning experiences for them. You will be the only one they can confide in and vent to this next year. Often times the knobs will vent to a parent, leaving the parent worried, while the knob moves on and never tells the parent they’ve resolved the issue.

In the next several months local alumni groups sponsor “Send Off events” for incoming knobs and their families. You can check with the Citadel Alumni Association to see if the club in your area will host an event. The Citadel Family Association also has area reps who are current parents who volunteer to help the new parents. you can find a list of the Area Reps here. The Atlanta Citadel Club has asked me to serve as the chair of the new Parent Committee. We will have a parent orientation meeting in June then the club will host a send off event August 4. Contact me if you’d like additional information. waitingwithboxes

There are three things an incoming knob can do NOW to prepare for the next year: (The office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs also has a good list for incoming knobs. You can access the link HERE.)

  1. Make sure you can meet, or better yet, exceed the Physical Training requirements.
  2. Buy and wear your black plain toe Oxford shoes (MUST be Polishable leather) and your 8″ desert boots.  Now through May 28 you can get 35% off site wide when you use the promo code EXTRA35.
  3. Begin to memorize the Knob Knowledge in the Guidon. It is available online or in the bookstore. You’ll get a copy when you report.

Parents often wonder about company assignments and roommates. The majority of cadets will find out their company and roommate on Matriculation Day. The athletes who report in July will all stay in the same barracks then move to their regular company assignments in August when the Corps of Cadets report. Unlike other colleges cadets will change rooms through out the year. The moves can be for a variety of reasons.

If you live out of state and don’t want to ship the items to campus, you can order times from Bed, Bath and Beyond or Wal-Mart and pick them up from the stores in Charleston. If you choose this option you will have to arrive in town before Matriculation Day. If you ship items to campus it is a good idea to arrive Friday morning to retrieve them from the warehouse on campus. Contact the warehouse directly with any questions about shipping items in advance.

I know it is a very stressful time for parents who do not have a military background or do not have a history with The Citadel. I was in your place in 2007. Much of what happens seems really strange. As my son would tell me every time I would question something, “There is a reason behind everything we do.” It is the knobs challenge to learn these reasons. A parent needs to encourage and support them in the process.

If you are the parent of an incoming knob, please join the group for 2020 parents on Facebook to meet fellow parents and to have a safe place to ask questions. Go to the page and request to join, then end me an email to confirm you are the parent of an incoming knob. dorie@dorielgriggs.com

Previous posts about Knob Year

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first day

Preparing for Knob Year: Parents Edition

Knob Year Notes for Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

Hotels that Offer Discounts to Citadel Families

Matriculation Day at The Citadel, 2015

Cars begin to line up at the alumni center in the early morning hours of Matriculation Day.
Cars begin to line up at the alumni center in the early morning hours of Matriculation Day.

In just a few more days the Class of 2019 will report to The Citadel for Matriculation Day. The nerves of the future knobs are probably running pretty high right now. If you notice your son or daughter withdrawing a bit, and being a little more quiet than normal don’t worry. Just like athletes who withdraw to get mentally ready for the big game, future knobs begin their own pre-game ritual. Parents begin to feel a bit nervous too. Allow yourself to feel these feelings Sending a child off to college is a big transition. Sending them to a military college is even tougher.

It is important that the future knob take ownership in getting everything together before Matriculation Day. Once their families say good-bye Saturday morning it is the knob who must navigate the 4th Class system while family and friends move to a support role.

Before reporting in make sure you’ve packed everything on the Success packet list, on page 6 and 7, and what they want to bring from the Citadel Family Association’s Nice to have List. Each year someone forgets their wallet and ID (Driver’s license). Be sure to add that to your packing check list. Be sure to pack in containers so that one person can easily carry each of them. Some families use disposable boxes and bags in addition to the 2 plastic bins so the knob will not have to go to the storage warehouse.

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.

Each family makes their own plans to get to campus on either Friday or just Saturday. There are some meetings that are good to attend on Friday if you can be in town. The Army ROTC cadets have a meeting Friday afternoon. A few families have decided to meet at the canteen for lunch on Friday at 11:30 before the meeting. If you are on campus then stop by. The canteen is in the Mark Clark Hall building. The same building that houses the Bookstore and the post office. Other groups have their own special meetings. If these gathering apply to you and your student you would have gotten an invitation/notice.

Many families take the opportunity to go out for a nice dinner the night before the student reports in. Charleston is noted for wonderful restaurants. The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau has a guide if you need help deciding where to go for dinner. If you are staying in a local hotel chances are several other families will be there too. I encourage families to say hello to other families that look like they have a college freshman aged student with them. Chances are they will be future classmates.

On Matriculation Day the "Blue Shirt" volunteers are parents of cadets who volunteer to help the new cadets get settled in. Here you can see a group carrying items into 1st Battalion.
On Matriculation Day the “Blue Shirt” volunteers are parents of cadets who volunteer to help the new cadets get settled in. Here you can see a group carrying items into 1st Battalion.

Saturday morning be sure your student has a good breakfast then get to the Holliday Alumni Center by 7:00 am. The soon to be knob should wear their white crew socks(ankle socks for the Class of 2020), athletic shoes, shorts/pants and a shirt (ticked in). The first thing they will do once they get to their barracks is change into their “knobbie clothes.” If they already have the socks and sneakers on it is just easier. It is also a good idea to say your real good-byes at the hotel. Things move pretty quickly once you get to campus.

Some families find it helpful to do a dry run from the hotel the night before. If it rains Saturday morning allow extra time to get to the campus. Charleston roads do flood when it rains. The traffic diagram is on the Matriculation Information page of the Office of the Commandant page online. You will visit the Office of the Commandant page all four years so you may want to bookmark it in your computer. Print out and bring the Traffic Diagram, FERPA form that must be completed and signed by the student, and the schedule for the day.

Once you arrive at the Holliday Alumni Center you’ll drive up in your car and the cadets there will give you the letter for your son or daughter’s company. Follow the map to the appropriate barracks. You’ll be instructed by the “Blue Shirt” volunteers and cadets at the barracks where to unload the car and put the things. You’ll also be told where to move your car. The Blue Shirt volunteers are parents of current cadets who volunteer to help the new families each year. Some travel quite a distance just to help out on this big day.

Once outside the barracks your son or daughter will be told what to do. Usually they report to the admissions representative at a table in the sallyport (entry way to the barracks). This is when the parents, and anyone with the families, just wait. Bring a folding chair with you if someone in your party has trouble standing for long periods of time. Once inside the barracks the cadet recruit will follow directions. They will eventually come out and let you know when it is alright to carry their things to their room. Once everything is in the room the parents and family leave. Do take time to get a photo of all of you either outside the barracks or inside the room. You’ll cherish them.

Caitlyn Lees, 2012 grad, sits at the sign in table with a cadet on Matriculation Day.
Caitlyn Lees, 2012 grad, sits at the sign in table with a cadet on Matriculation Day.

Parent must leave the barracks by 10:00am. Once the parents leave the gates of the sallyport will close and the introduction of the cadre will begin. This can be a very tough things for some families to watch because it signifies the beginning of a week long period when you will not hear form your son or daughter. It is best to move onto the fieldhouse for the information fair and president’s address.

There is an information fair in the McAlister Fieldhouse right next to 1st Battalion. It is good to go by there and visit the various tables. The Citadel Family Association will have representatives there serving some refreshments to. It is air conditioned, there are restrooms and you can have a seat for the President’s Address.

Once the address is over you are free to leave the campus. Some families stay Saturday night. Others want to go straight home. If you are in town Sunday you can attend the Sunday morning chapel service. You will not see or be able to talk to your son or daughter. Many families find they enjoy the time in the chapel after a stressful day Saturday. Monday evening is when the knobs take their cadet oath. The past several years the school has provided a live stream of the event online. Watch the school web site to see if they will do it again this year. It is not an event to stay for. It begins at 7:00 pm and only lasts 15 minutes or so. You won’t be able to talk to your son or daughter. Many local parents who stayed said they couldn’t tell where their child was. They have their hair cut and all in the same uniform.

Sunday morning chapel service.
Sunday morning chapel service.

Once you know your child’s company, reach out to the CFA company rep. you can find a list on their website. If you haven’t already, join the Facebook group for 2019 parents. I ask that you send me a private message on Facebook or an email to verify that you are a parent before I will confirm your request to join the group. The group is a great way to share photos and get information on the big weekends and events on campus.

Best wishes to the

Class of 2019!

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day and receives their "knobbie" clothes inside the barracks.
The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day and receives their “knobbie” clothes inside the barracks.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On matriculation Day.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On matriculation Day.
Citadel Family Association, "Blue Shirt" volunteers wait with parents of the Class of 2015.
Citadel Family Association, “Blue Shirt” volunteers wait with parents of the Class of 2015.
Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010
Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010
The Bravo Co. cadre lead the Class of 2014 to lunch on Matriculation Day.
The Bravo Co. cadre lead the Class of 2014 to lunch on Matriculation Day.
Class of 2015 knobs head to lunch on Matriculation Day.
Class of 2015 knobs head to lunch on Matriculation Day.

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

Gifts for Citadel Cadets and Graduates

Wearables

Each year around this time I am asked about gift ideas for cadets. While each cadet and graduate will have different likes and needs, I’ll post a list of suggestions. I have not purchased from all these companies and this post is not an endorsement of their company, just a listing of companies who offer Citadel related products. These ideas also hold for graduation gifts, and appreciation gifts for senior mentors, classmates and recent graduates. The Citadel Bookstore is a great place to start for gift giving. The photos in this entry of the bookstore were taken over parents weekend, 2014.

Here is the list in no particular order:

The Citadel Bookstore – Diploma Frames, gift frames, glassware, jewelry, etc.

Citadel Alumni Association Merchandise – Alumni gifts of all types Including the Big Red Flag

The Citadel Miniature ring and pendant

For junior and senior cadets: Citadel Alumni Association Lifetime Membership

LaHart – jewelry, crystal and glassware

Football Fanatics – wearables

Original Collegiate Art by Brenda Harris Tustian

Summerall Guard merchadise

Philanthropic giving – various cadet related funds. Give in honor or memory of someone. See this previous blog post for links.

Citadel Bulldog apparel by CBSSports

Citadel Sports gifts by Planet Sports Team

Citadel Golf Accessories

SoCon Gear

Bulldog embroidered pants, shorts, shirts and skirts by Pennington and Bailes

Palmetto Boards ‘n Bags – Customized corn hole boards are a popular gift for any Citadel fan.

Bottle Breacher – A fun gift for a graduate in the military

Spirited Signs – A company owned and operated by a Citadel alum.

A decal by Spirited Signs.
A decal by Spirited Signs.

Historic Nutcrackers – Citadel Cadet Nutcracker to be available after January 2015. Contact the company for more information.

Combat Humidor a great gift for a deployed alum.

Through Their Eyes – a new book by George Steffner

I have learned that Carolina Cadets is not currently stocked with their full range of nutcrackers and ornaments, but she does have the 48″ Cadet Nutcrackers. You can contact her through the Facebook page for her cake decorating business.

Diploma frame Diploma Frames Citadel Book F-Troop Book Citadel/Military related books Gift items Jewelry watches License plate frames Artwork Sketches Stuffed Bulldog mascot Photo frames

 

End of Year Tips for Citadel Parents

Seniors in the Class of 2008 march in the Long Gray Line.
Seniors in the Class of 2008 march in the Long Gray Line.

The 2013-2014 school year is drawing to a close. The knobs are no more and exams are right around the corner. The Class of 2014 can tell you the days and probably the minutes until graduation. The Class of 2018 are just beginning their early preparations for CSI and Matriculation Day. I’ve decided to list the advice by class.

To the parents of the Class of 2018.

I know right now you are preparing for high school graduation. It is an overwhelmingly wonderful time. Your soon-to-be knob is probably not thinking too far ahead. Trust me when I tell you the best gift you can give your soon to be knob, is their plain toe black oxford shoes. The best thing the soon-to-be knob can do for them self is to wear the shoes over the next few month to really get them broken in. Foot troubles that first month cause many knobs to miss out on activities.

Join the parent group on Facebook for the Class of 2018 parents. You will meet other new parents and a few parents of graduates are in the group to help answer your questions. Be careful what you post to other Facebook groups and pages. Gushing about your soon-to-be-knob on a public Facebook page is not a good idea. Let your family and friends know that advice too. Set the privacy settings on your Facebook page to Friends. When school starts and you see your knob in a photo don’t tag the photo. You can download it and post it to your personal page. Learn to use the search window on this blog and also on the school web site. The Citadel has a great website and includes just about all the information you’ll need to know over the four years.

See the blog entry here called Welcome to the Class of 2018 for tips on the Success packet list (page 6) and the CFA “Nice to Have” list.

To the parents of the Class of 2017

Your cadets just finished the toughest year they have probably gone through in their young lives. Many cadets are so excited to no longer be part of the 4th Class system that they begin to get lax with their studies. Remind them it is a college they are attending.

Sophomore year is also referred to as knobmore year. They are no longer knobs but they are on the low wrung of the upperclass ladder. Even if they have rank, they are the lowest officers. Know that at some point sophomore your cadet they may again question if it is all worth it. They don’t question in the same way they did knob year, but it can happen.

Help them stayed focus on their school work. This year they have a little more freedom and will slowly become more like other college kids. Don’t be surprised if they do not spend their open weekends coming home.

To the Parents of the Class of 2016.

Junior year is a year of pretty major changes. The cadet officers have much more responsibility. They are used to the system and really are very similar to other college kids by now. Junior year at The Citadel has a few unique opportunities.

Some cadets decide to be Bond Volunteer Aspirants, or BVA’s, the group that tries out to become Summerall Guards. This means they are volunteering to go through some of the toughest months of their life. They may have rank, but are treated like knobs when they are with the current Summerall Guards. If your cadet decides to be a BVA know that they will have little to no time to them self. Let them be the ones to contact you. Remind them to keep their studies up.

The second half of their junior year they will receive blazer privileges. They will also have a ring sizing and an opportunity to try on their ring. See the Citadel Alumni Association page for more information on the requirements to received the ring.

Senior year is right around the corner. If you haven’t started a fund for the ring purchase start one now. The ring price depends on the price of gold. The past few years that means just over $1,000. Moms, if you want a ring, you better let your cadet know now. They run around $600.

The the Class of 2014 parents.

Congratulations. I am sure you are experiencing a mixture of emotions. Enjoy graduation week. The school has posted all the information for the week on the Commencement 2014 webpage.

If you can arrive in town early to see the various activities on campus. An award ceremony takes place on Thursday.  This year the luncheon/reception for the new Lifetime members will be held on Thursday at lunch time. The baccalaureate service is Thursday afternoon.

Be sure your camera batteries are charged up for all the events. It goes by in a flash. The photos will help you relive this exciting weekend.

For parents of cadets who will commission into a branch of the military, arrive to the chapel early for the ceremony. After the ceremony the newly commissioned officers will leave the chapel and go outside to render their first salute. You will become a Blue Star family that day. Blue Star Mothers have chapters across the country.

This photo taken at graduation shows the time honored tradition of tossing your cover in the air once the president dismisses the class. This photo could be taken in any year, but it is from May 2011.
This photo taken at graduation shows the time honored tradition of tossing your cover in the air once the president dismisses the class. This photo could be taken in any year, but it is from May 2011.

NOTE: Use the search window of this blog to find previous entries on a variety of cadet related topics.

Gifts for Cadets

Each year about this time the search terms for gifts for cadets increase. Parents, family and friends of cadets are usually looking for ideas for graduates, but also to celebrate the end of knob year at Recognition Day.

I’ve written about this topic before and you can see those ideas on these previous posts: Finding Gifts for Your Citadel Cadet; The Citadel: Recognition Day and Graduation Gift IdeasGift Ideas for Citadel Cadets and Graduates.

My top recommendation for newly recognized knobs is a company t-shirt and car decal. You can purchase them at the Citadel Bookstore. They aren’t expecting a gift, but one of the first things former knobs do after Recognition Day is head to the bookstore to get a company t-shirt.

For the seniors The Citadel Bookstore and other merchants have an endless number of great gifts. The bookstore carries diploma frames, and other gifts.

The Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association is the top gift for a graduate. They are given a plaque at a luncheon graduation week. The membership means they will always be connected to their alma mater through the CAA.

Contact Dawn Allen at: Rmichaelallen@bellsouth.net.
Contact Dawn Allen at: Rmichaelallen@bellsouth.net.

I’ve seen some very creative gifts this year. Parents, mostly moms, are very resourceful. One 2016 mom sent me photos of a picture she had painted by a friend. Dawn Allen works off of photos, magazines, or any kind of images you want to send. Tell her what you want and she will design a comp. Price depends on size, detail, and if lettering is involved. Anything is negotiable. Contact her at: Rmichaelallen@bellsouth.net

Photos of their time at The Citadel are always appreciated. I gave the 2011 graduates of Bravo Company two photos for graduation. One was a group photo from their knob year taken on Corps Day. The second photo was a group shot taken in front of the company letter on Ring Weekend.

If you have a great gift idea you’d like to share, please add it to the comment section of this entry.

Bravo knobs pose on 4th division (4th Floor) in their dress whites, March 2008
Bravo knobs pose on 4th division (4th Floor) in their dress whites, March 2008
Bravo Company 2011 wear the Ring photo by Stanley Leary
Bravo Company 2011 wear the Ring photo by Stanley Leary