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.
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):
***2/10/2019 Please note: I am no longer updating the blog posts for Citadel parents. See the official school website for the most up to date information***
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.
Each year about this time I receive an interesting mix of questions. Families of seniors write with graduation questions. Sophomore and junior parents have fewer questions but the ones they do have revolve around either the BVA process for junior year or early questions about Ring Weekend for rising seniors. The knob families are gearing up for Recognition Day, and the parents of high school seniors have matriculation Day questions.
The graduation schedule is posted on the school web site and should answer most of your questions. You only get 8 tickets per family. some large families set up a computer/TV combination in a rental home so the people who are not at graduation can see the live stream.
The school posts a link to the Balfour graduation announcements. They did not have the site updated early enough for many families so many have used a different company that offer better prices and plenty of options: Signature Announcements
I refer parents to the link to Emily Post Graduation Etiquette for an explanation about the difference between announcements and an invitation. Since the tickets are limited it is customary to send announcements a day to 2 weeks after the graduation to let friends and family know of the milestone reached by your graduate.
On graduation day be sure to ask your graduate where they want to meet you when the ceremony is over. The place is packed and if you have a designated place to meet it can cut down on the time it takes to find your grad is a sea of people.
For more tips and photos just enter Graduation in the search window of this blog page. Here is the post I wrote after graduation last year: Graduation for the Class of 2015
The biggest question that I’m asked is about the ring payment.The Citadel Alumni Association will send a bill in late August once the registrar lets them know who is qualified to receive their rings in October. Hopefully you or your cadet have been saving up. The cost of the ring has been in the $1,000 range the past several years. The payment is due before Ring Weekend.
It is customary for the cadet to escort their mother through the giant replica of the ring the Friday evening of Ring Weekend. The schedule of when each company goes through the ring is posted early in the new school year by the cadet activities office.
There isn’t much parents need to know before junior year. If your son has plans to become a Bond Volunteer Aspirant, you can expect them to spend a good part of their summer physically preparing. I’ve posted several entries about the process you might find helpful.
It won’t be long until your son or daughter will cease being a knob and become a regular 4th Class cadet. Recognition Day is coming up. If you attend, remember it is not a day to interact with your cadet. If you go, watch from the sidelines, take photos and be in awe of how they have grown as a class in one short academic year. This year I am looking forward to being on campus and joining some 2019 families for lunch that day.
A heads up about sophomore year: It is a different type of tough.They aren’t knobs but if they have rank they are the lowest ranking officers. Many refer to it as knobmore year because it doesn’t seem a whole lot different than the year before. Parents like to call it knob-no-more, but I’m told by many cadets and grads that knobmore is a better description.
A few words of caution. . . It is a year when they do get a little bit a power. It can be a time when they will run into the discipline system a bit more. Grades can slip sophomore year because they don’t have anyone telling them what to do like they did the year before.
Families of high school seniors:
Congratulations! You are about to embark on quite a rollercoaster ride called Knob Year. Please join the Facebook group called, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. Please send me an email to let me know you are the parent of an incoming knob. The group is only for parents of knobs, not extended family. You’ll meet other parents who will become your friends. A few parents of grads are in the group to help answer questions. We have a variety of different backgrounds.The Citadel Family Association also has a Facebook group you can join. The Area Reps are parents throughout the country who volunteer to be a support to knew parents. Once you know your son or daughters company (on Matriculation Day) you will have a CFA parent volunteer you can also contact for help and support.
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.
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
Each time we visit Charleston we try to find a new place to eat. On a recent trip we enjoyed dinner at The Coleman Public House in Mt. Pleasant. A good friend recommended it and we were not disappointed. You can read about a few other restaurants we enjoy in this previous blog post: Where We Dine When We Visit The Citadel
Traveling with a 16-year-old who is fairly picky means there are some restaurants I’ll just have to try when my husband and I visit. On that same weekend visit I hoped to eat at S.N.O.B. but one look at the menu, which looked fantastic to me, and my daughter asked if we could go somewhere else to eat. The manager was very nice and offered some kid friendly options, but she decided she really wanted a more casual meal. I was so impressed with the manager and staff that I wrote to their main office. They sent me information on all three of their restaurants. They are all on my list to visit on future trips to the city. Gift cards to these restaurants and others would make a terrific thank you gift to host families, cadets or friends.
High Cotton, Maverick Bar & Grill, 199 East Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401; 843.724.3815
High Cotton Charleston is high steppin’ Lowcountry living. It’s a feeling of warmth and celebration that begins the moment you step inside. You’ll find it in our gracious, knowledgeable servers, expertly paired dishes and a remarkable wine and cocktail program. Brunch served Saturday & Sunday. Dinner is available seven nights a week.
Slightly North of Broad, an eclectic Lowcountry bistro that brings together local ingredients and thoughtful, expert presentation with a contagious energy. The dining room, an extension of the kitchen, where culinary skill, considered wine program and warm service meld together. Lunch served Monday-Friday. Dinner is available seven nights a week.
Old Village Post House is a neighborhood tavern and inn nestled in Mount Pleasant’s historic Old Village. In feel and décor, it’s as comfortable as your best friend’s home – from the original worn pine floors to our lively tavern. Brunch served on Sunday. Dinner available seven nights a week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.