Many parents have asked if there is a traditional gift to mark this milestone. While there isn’t one “have to get” item, over the years many families have given their 4th Class cadet a company t-shirt from the campus bookstore to mark the occasion.
Each year for the past five years I’ve posted a group to support parents of incoming knobs at The Citadel. It is now time to announce the group for parents of the Class of 2021, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2021
Please note the parent groups by class are for the parents/guardians of the incoming cadet recruit (they aren’t cadets until Parents Weekend). While I understand there are family members who are very proud, the groups are limited to the parents only. Family members can follow the school via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat(TheCitadel1842), YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope.
The Citadel Family Association and the Parents page on the school web site are both great resources. Their web sites are accessible to anyone. The page for Freshman Parents features a series of helpful pages linked on the left hand side of the page (when accessed via computer). I highly recommend parents and their high school senior read through the Important Conversation page and watch the video there.
In the weeks and months to come I’ll post additional information and links geared towards new families. Be sure to send me an email or private message via Facebook after you request to join the group for 2021 parents. I verify each request to join the group to make sure only parents and guardians are accepted. Receiving an email makes the approval process go quicker. My email address is: Dorie at dorielgriggs dot com
Once a parent is accepted to the group they are asked to read and acknowledge the post pinned to the top of the page which outlines the basic ground rules for membership in the group.
A note about social media and cadets: It is best to tighten up the security of all social media platforms. Knobs should keep a low profile until their Recognition Day, the day the 4th Class system ends and they become full members of the Corps of Cadets. In addition to security settings an incoming knob should not use any Citadel related hashtags nor should they post photos wearing Citadel apparel.
Parents of the Class of 2018: Your cadets have ordered their rings and gotten their blazers. It won’t be long until the BVA’s find out if they are Summerall Guards. In less than ten months from now you’ll be attending Parents/Ring Weekend!
A few notes:
If your cadet is a Summerall Guard, do attend Corps Day Weekend. That is when they will transition from Bond Volunteers to Summerall Guards.
Find out where your cadet will be as they march onto the field Saturday morning and find your place along the roped off area early to get good photos. My son was on the side closest to the stands (versus on the chapel side of the field) we stood along the rope in front of the stands closest to the walkway from 2nd battalion.
Looking ahead to ring weekend, make your hotel or house reservation early. Get cancellation insurance if you rent a house as we learned this past fall with hurricane season anything can happen.
I’ve written quite a lot about Ring Weekend and posted plenty of photos to show moms in particular what to wear Friday evening. In short, the ring presentation in the afternoon business dress is appropriate (you’ll see more casual attire too) the evening ring ceremony traditionally moms wear a formal gown since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. Moms, wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be standing in a line for your turn through the ring.
You do not need tickets for the afternoon ring presentation or the evening ring ceremony.
The field house fills up quickly for the presentation so get to your seats early. As your friends with sophomore or junior cadets to take photos/video of the march into the field house and have them stationed at the chapel where the cadets knock on the chapel door with their rings.
After they receive their rings families should go to the barracks. The seniors run into the battalion have a sparking cider toast and throw the glasses at the company letter. If you are stationed at a sallyport with a view of the letter and a zoom lens you can get some photos. In 2010 my husband got permission ahead of time from the TAC officer to be in the battalion to take photos which we shared with everyone in the company afterward.
After the toast the seniors will come out of the barracks for congratulations and photos. The Summerall Guards have to practice. Most others have the afternoon off.
The school will post the schedule of when each company goes through the ring Friday night. If your cadet’s company has a time from 6 – 8 you can have dinner after you go through the ring. Bravo went through at 8:30 so our group of 30+ had dinner at 5:30.
Family and friends who are with you Friday night will go sit in the stands and wait for the cadet and mom/date/other guest to go through the ring. Once you walk through the ring your party will leave the field house.
Saturday of Ring Weekend is a regular football day, but with open barracks Saturday morning. Most cadets appreciate families bringing breakfast to them in the barracks that morning.
Keep a camera handy. Senior cadets smile more on Ring Weekend than any other time. It all goes by so quickly. If you have family or friends with you consider asking them to be the designated photographer for the family.
See the links at the end of this post for more photos:
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.
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.