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

Survival Tips for Knob Parents

The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion. photo by David Hall
The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion.
photo by David Hall

Welcome to The Citadel parent family!
I am sure Matriculation Day was a mixed bag of emotions for you. The Citadel Family Association volunteers do a terrific job of helping ease what is usually a very stressful day for families. The real tough time for parents begins today.

I am not a graduate of The Citadel so I cannot speak to the cadet experience, but I can relate to how a parent feels when they send their student off to knob year. If you are a parent of a knob, please join the Facebook group I moderate, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018. I will not accept requests to join from extended family members or friends. It is very time consuming volunteer work to keep the parent groups going. I cannot extend an invitation to extra people. Please send me an email before you request to join to verify you are the parent of a knob send me their name and company. My email can be found in the “About Dorie” section of this blog site.

5th Battalion photo by David Hall
5th Battalion
photo by David Hall

This first week without contact from your knob is tough. Each year parents find some measure of comfort by visiting the various school Facebook groups to find photos and videos of the week. I’ll post a few links to helpful Facebook groups at the end of this entry.

A note about Facebook and social media this first year. Facebook groups can be a great way to connect with other parents. It can also cause trouble among parents and cadets when too much is shared to a group wall, or when parents think they should know everything that is going on every minute of every day.

Please limit your posts to general questions. If you have specific questions pertaining to your cadet you send private messages to a trusted friend or CFA volunteer. Do not post specifics about your knob or any cadet to a Facebook group or page.

Know that the groups were established to answer general questions, not to give a full accounting of everything a cadet will do each day. The Citadel is a leadership school. The knobs will learn to take control of their process and learn to navigate the 4th Class System. You can be an encouraging presence. You cannot do this for them.

Related to Facebook is the tagging of your knob in photos. It is best not to tag photos you see on public sites. When you tag your knob the photo is then visible to their friends and family and they begin to post comments. The comments will be visible to the public. Most knobs want to keep a low profile. If you see a photo of your knob, download it and repost to your own page for your family and friends to see.

If at any time you have a concern, I encourage you to address the appropriate department on campus. If the question pertains to something in the company or barracks contact the TAC officer for the company or battalion. A confidential resource on campus is the ombudsperson’s office. They will take your calls or emails an answer your questions confidentially. You can find their contact information and other resources on the web page named H.E.L.P.

On Monday night the school will have a live stream presentation of the Oath Ceremony. You can find the details linked to the home page of the school web site or click here.

Starting this week and throughout the year you can see the schedule for the Corps of Cadets on the Office of the Commandant page. Once on the page click on Operations and Training, then Training Schedules , then look for the week you are interested in reading about. The schedule for this first week is titled, “August 16 – 24, 2014 (Company rotation schedule).” You will see the knobs are kept VERY busy in meetings all week.

Great Facebook pages to follow this year include:

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

The Citadel Alumni Association

The Citadel Sports

The Citadel – Department of Cadet Activities

Count down for The Citadel Class of 2018

Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their pT clothes.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes.

We are less than two weeks away from Matriculation Day for The Citadel Class of 2018. I thought I’d post a few helpful Facebook groups new parents may want to join or follow as well as a few links to helpful web pages on the school site.

By now your soon-to-be knob should have read through the Success Packet and have the items listed on the required list. Please note that there is a big change to the instructions for knobs this year. On page 7 of the Success packet the labeling instructions for clothes is listed. In past years all labeling was done once the knobs arrived.

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.
The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.

The Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List” is just suggested items to pack along too. The iron is a must. Some companies do not allow knobs to have full size ironing boards so to start off send along a travel size board. Cleaning supplies are also good to send along at the beginning and just a few school supplies to start with since each class has different requirements a notebook or two and pens, pencils and a stapler are a good idea to send too.

Charlie Company knobs report.
Charlie Company knobs report.

Regarding social media:If your son or daughter hasn’t already their privacy settings on social media should be set very high. They should not have any photos with them wearing Citadel clothing, or any branch of the military. They also should not post anything with a Citadel related hashtag unless they want the attention of all the cadets and alumni before they start.

Your family and friends, including girlfriends and boyfriends of knobs should be made aware they should not tag photos of your knob that appear on public pages. They should also understand that this year a knob will not be able to return calls or texts at will. Be patient and then be grateful for what ever communication you have.

Facebook groups for parents:

The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 This group is only for parents of knobs in the class of 2018 or parents of cadets transferring into the school. Please send a private message to me on Facebook to verify you are a parent of a knob. You can also send me an email to verify you are the parent of a member of the class of 2018

Citadel Alumni Grad/Dad Advice – For parents of all cadets with some staff and administration. This group established by Paul Tamburrino offers information for parents in a straight forward manner, no sugar-coating here.

Facebook pages to follow (all family members may follow these pages):

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

Citadel Family Association (CFA)

The Citadel Sports

A knob gets special attention Sunday morning.

Once your knob gets involved with various activities and departments there are other groups to join as well. Each battalion has a group and many companies have Facebook groups for parents. I usually advise parents to join the groups the first year but wait until after knob year to post to groups with parents of all classes in them. I also advice all parents to use caution and not to post information particular to your cadet to any group page.

The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.
The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.

Tips for Matriculation Day:

Make a list of all items you have to bring. Include your knobs wallet and ID on the list. Each year someone leaves theirs at home

Print out the information on the Office of the Commandant Matriculation Day page, especially the schedule for the day, traffic diagram, and necessary forms to bring.

If you arrive ahead of time, make a dry run to the campus from your hotel so you will avoid wrong turns the morning of matriculation day.

Remember to say your good-byes at the hotel that morning. Once on campus things move pretty quickly. Do try to snap a few photos of your knob when they come out in their “knobbie” clothes. They are great photos to look at four years later.

Read through the link on the left hand side of this page titled Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first day for additional tips.

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

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

Gearing Up for the New School Year: Information for Citadel and LDAC Cadet Families

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.

As the excitement and fun of the 4th of July holiday is winding down, I have observed an increase in search terms relating to Matriculation Day for the Class of 2018, Parents Weekend for the Class of 2015 and oddly enough LDAC information. The first two categories I expect each year at this time. What I have realized is the US Army moved their Leader Development and Assessment Course to Ft. Knox from Joint Base Lewis McChord and the way they are now delivering information to family and friends is not as easy to find or complete as in years past.

For the family and friends of cadets at LDAC I will include a few links I have found for current information. Be sure to click the links provided within these pages for more information:

On Facebook: U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Summer Training 

Leader Development and Assessment Course blog site

ROTC CST YouTube channel

LDAC photos

U.S.Army Cadet Command news

For the Class of 2018 and their parents: The school has now updated the Matriculation Day information on their website. Be sure to check out each and every link and entry on the list. Some, like the assessments link, include links to items you MUST act on by a particular date.

I’ve noted a few changes from years past. In the Success Packet they now ask that incoming knobs label their clothes. Bedding will be labeled by the laundry service. In years past this was part of the first week experience. See page 7 of the Success Packet for the complete instructions. Tips for the items on the Success Packet required list and the Citadel Family Associations “Nice to Have List” can be found on this previous blog post, Welcome to the Class of 2018.

A knob checks in at the table in the sallyport (entrance) of the barracks.
A knob checks in at the table in the sallyport (entrance) of the barracks.

Another large change is the school will not be mailing a copy of the Guidon, the book that knobs MUST learn and memorize parts of this year. It is available online. They suggest incoming knobs begin to memorize the knob knowledge prior to Matriculation Day. The  List of Knob Knowledge and where to find the information is on page 55 of the Guidon available online.

A few helpful links for the Class of 2018 follow. I suggest taking time and reading through the previous posts about knob year too:

The Admission’s office Matriculation Day Headquarters page

The Office of the Commandant‘s Matriculation Information page

For an over view of Parents Weekend see the entries at the end of the post.

The Facebook group for parents, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018
( please request to join and also send me a note on Facebook or an email, found in the About Dorie section of this blog, to verify you are the parent of a cadet. Extended family members and friends are not allowed in the group)

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.

 

After the gates close the knobs line up in their company to prepare to march to lunch.
After the gates close the knobs line up in their company to prepare to march to lunch.

For the parents of the Class of 2015:

Congratulations!! You are about to enter one of the most fun years at The Citadel. Ring Weekend will be here before you know it, October 10 – 12, 2014. If you haven’t done so already be sure to book your accommodations for the weekend. Be ready to see your cadet smile like you haven’t seen them smile on campus before.

The activities begin Friday with the ring presentation around noon. If you can get there early enough to watch them march into the field house as the knobs cheer them on. It is open seating for this event and there are no limits to the number of people who can attend. You will see all types of dress on the people attending. It is an important event. The cadets will be in there most formal uniform. Families should dress comfortably but appropriately for the occasion.

The Class of 2011 runs to the chapel after receiving their rings.
The Class of 2011 runs to the chapel after receiving their rings.
Bravo '11 members run through the sword arch.
Bravo ’11 members run through the sword arch.
Bravo '11 members show off their rings.
Bravo ’11 members show off their rings.

After they receive their rings the seniors RUN out of the field house and knock their rings on the chapel, a nod to the days they received them in the chapel in a ceremony just for cadets. They then Run back into their barracks for a toast at the company letter. Station yourself at a sallyport with a view of the company letter and have a zoom lens for great photos. Our son’s senior year his TAC allowed my husband and a few others into the battalion to take photos. You should not assume permission will be granted. Check with the TAC Friday morning to see the current policy.

The afternoon, from about 2:00 until it is your cadet’s company designated time to go through the ring, is free time. The Cadet Activities office posts the Ring Ceremony information sometime in September. Check their website.

Each company is assigned a time to go through the ring by the Cadet Activities office. It is really just a photo opportunity for the cadet and their family. Whomever will walk through the ring with their senior cadet needs to arrive 15 minutes before their designated time. The wait can take up to an hour, so be sure you have on comfortable shoes for standing. You will be instructed on where to look as you walk through the ring and the sword arch. If you have a high-end camera your family member or friend may be able to get a good photo without a flash. Anyone not going through the ring can watch from the stands. There is no dress code to sit and watch. Anyone walking through the ring should dress appropriately for this formal occasion. It is tradition for women to wear a formal gown, but in recent years many have worn cocktail length dresses, or a dressy skirt and blouse. Like most everything else on campus, you will see a little of everything.

Dinner reservations should be made around the time the company’s designated time to go through the ring. Our year Bravo Company went through after 8:00, so a group of us met for an early dinner. Our cadets then went out together, without parents afterward.

The Junior Sword Arch opens the presentation around 6:00, see the official schedule this fall for exact times. Anyone can attend and see this performance.

After the Friday festivities the rest of the weekend is like every other Parents Weekend, open barracks Saturday, a concert on the parade field, parade lunch on your own and the football game.

A few members of Bravo Company and their dates pose by the company letter before they walk through the ring.
A few members of Bravo Company and their dates pose by the company letter before they walk through the ring.

You can see photos of dresses worn in previous years on the blog entries listed here:

The Citadel Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

The Citadel Parents Weekend Ring Weekend Tips

The Citadel: Parent Weekend Tips for the Class of 2014 and 2017

Transitions and Letting Go

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.

I am just days away from a major shift in the way I’ve been living for the past ten years. On Monday, June 2, I begin a year-long stint as a resident in the chaplain’s office at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. I haven’t commuted daily to a job since 2004.

For the past ten years I have had contract positions where most of the work was done by computer and phone with occasional face to face meetings. I will now work 7:30 – 4:30 each day with on call duty one weekend a month.

For the past four years I’ve also contributed to this blog and maintain several Facebook groups for parents of cadets and graduates of The Citadel. How this activity will change is not clear right now. I assume I’ll still check in on the group sat the end of the day and contribute to the blog as I find the time. If you are a new Citadel parent, remember to use the search window on this blog and also on the school website. Just about every thing you need to know as a parent can be found on the school website or in previous posts to this blog or the Off the Base blog.

In previous years I’ve been on Facebook throughout the day to help answer questions in the parent groups. Fortunately I am not the only one in the groups a GREAT group of parents of graduates help answer questions in the groups. A few parents in the groups have multiple children at the school and they help answer questions too. Once I start working full-time I’m sure I’ll be able to check the group pages most evenings and on the weekend.

The Facebook group search window will appear when you click on the magnifying glass icon.
The Facebook group search window will appear when you click on the magnifying glass icon.

A tip to new parents: Join the The Citadel: Parents of  the Class of 2018 (email me to let me know your student will be a knob my address is in the About section of this blog). Being part of the group means you’ll learn about the 4th Class system together. You will find you are not alone in your questions. A BIG reason I started this group is to help parents learn about the system and learn to empower their knob/cadet to take control of their process. When you are missing your knob the first week, visit the group page.

Letting go of the control you’ve had as a parent is the toughest part of sending a child to The Citadel. It is a leadership school. That means your cadet will learn to take control of their future. For that to happen the cadet has to take the lead in advocating for them self.

Between cell phones, email and Skype families are more connected than ever. Technology can be a good thing, but it also means that for many parents of knobs, this first year can be very traumatic as you adjust to not being able to talk to your child whenever you would like to talk to them. Use the next few months as a transition period to prepare for scant communication.

Knobs do not have control over their time. They WILL NOT be able to reply to an email or text right away, much less a phone call. This is particularly tough on parents who are used to talking to their child throughout the day. It is really tough on the girlfriends or boyfriends of cadets. They too need to understand that knobs do not have control of much of anything other than their reactions this first year.

One way to cope with the separation with your knob is to learn to use the school website. Reading about the school and the training the cadets go through can help you feel connected when you can’t see or hear from them. I suggest this each year, NOT for you to tell your son or daughter what to do, but to help you understand the system at The Citadel. If you know the terminology and a little about the campus it means you can spend the little time you do have on the phone visiting and not asking for explanations of terms. A good book to read to help you understand knob year is, “In the Company of Men,” by Nancy Mace.

The Guidon is online and has a section with photos of the various uniforms and terminology. It also tells you a bit about the history. Your cadet will get a copy in the mail before Matriculation Day and will need to memorize and internalize much of this book. For parents it is just a helpful reference book to have on hand.

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

Once school gets started you can get an idea of what their day is like by reading the weekly training schedules that are online. Visit the Office of the Commandant page, then select Operations and Training, then select Training Schedules. If you want to read through what they will learn click on Training to see the various training modules.

Remember just a few short years ago when the rising seniors were knobs their parents did not have the benefit of Facebook groups or blog posts to help them through. The groups for classes started with the Class of 2016. The tips I am passing along I learned during my sons knob year. I hardly heard from him that year and used the time to read through the web site as well as reading books like In the Company of Men, The Boo, In Glory’s Shadow, Sword Drill and yes, Lords of Discipline. The volunteers of the Citadel Family Association are a great resource too. Once school starts you can also reach out to the company and battalion parent representatives.

Two blog entries you’ll want to visit in August:

Matriculation Day: The Hardest Part for Parents is Letting Go

Hell Week and Knob Year Survival Tips for Parents 

I am heading into my first week as a chaplain resident at the VA. I’m feeling a bit like getting ready for the first day of school. I’m not sure how often I will be contributing here in the months to come. My hope is that I’ve written enough about the school and the process that parents visiting this site will be able to use the search window above right on the page and find the information they need.

 

 

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.

Recognition Day, Graduation, and Summer Plans

Dorie, Nelson and Chelle. Recognition Day 2008
Dorie, Nelson and Chelle. Recognition Day 2008

In less than two weeks the class of 2017 will go through Recognition Day. In 40 days the class of 2014 will join the long gray line of graduates.  The parent Facebook groups are lighting up with posts related to these two huge events in the life of a Citadel cadet.

I get the most questions from parents of freshman and seniors each year. The first year parents are entering a year full of foreign words and rituals. The senior parents are excited about Ring Weekend then graduation. Sophomore and junior year are just not that busy for parents. The cadets slowly become more like other college students. On their time off they aren’t as focused on spending time with family. They begin to develop a social life in Charleston and spend their time off with their buddies.

Sophomore year is referred to as knobmore year for a good reason. They are no longer knobs, but they are the lowest officers in the cadet chain of command, or have no real status among the upperclass cadets. It can be a tough year for many. I have even heard cadets say that they miss knob year when they didn’t have to think about how to order their day. It was done for them that first year. I don’t believe any cadet would really want to go through another knob year. The best thing to do this year is keep your grades up.

Junior year the cadet officers are carrying higher rank and responsibilities. Over 100 juniors each year decide to be Bond Volunteer Aspirants (BVA’s) in the hope of being a member of the Summerall Guards. That process is all-consuming. Parents of BVA’s should expect them to be busy most of the time with either school work, officer duties or BVA duties. Let them contact you. If you don’t hear from them in a while, just know they really are that busy.

The 2015 Summerall Guards during their first performance of The Citadel Series.
The 2015 Summerall Guards during their first performance of The Citadel Series.

Juniors in general, BVA or not, are busy. They are fully into their college years. The social life continues to pick up. For many of the Army ROTC cadets they are preparing to attend the Leader Development and Assessment Course held in the summer. Cadets who will enter the various military branches participate in summer programs. The non-military cadets are looking for internships in the field they hope to work win when the graduate.

Since we are toward the end of the year I’ll mention a few end of year tips for each class:

For the 4th Class cadets two questions I get each year at this time is, What type of gift should I get my cadet? and Do they really have to be out of the barracks before 7 am on graduation day?

The answer to the first question is, a gift is not necessary, but is always appreciated. A company T-Shirt from the bookstore is the most welcomed gift as it is a sign they are a full member of the Corps of Cadets. Any gift reflecting their status as a full member of the Corps of Cadets is welcomed.

The Class of 2008 joins the Long Gray Line of graduates.
The Class of 2008 joins the Long Gray Line of graduates.

The answer to the graduation day question is, yes, unless your cadet has duties at graduation, they have to be out of the barracks by 7 am graduation morning. The Corps of Cadets marches in the Long Gray Line parade Friday afternoon. After the parade they turn in their dress gray uniform and get their rooms cleaned up. If your cadet can’t leave before 7 am, they have to wait with their things on the quad of the barracks. Most cadets will find a local family to go to if they have a late flight out that day. Parents, if you can, try to arrive early Friday afternoon to see the Long Gray Line parade.

For many sophomores cadets it is the last summer they will have where they aren’t focused on post graduation activities. Making, and saving, money is the primary focus. Of course each cadet is different. Some end up taking advantage of the summer abroad programs or other school related offerings.

For Army ROTC cadets heading to LDAC:

This year LDAC will be held at Ft. Knox instead of Joint Base Lewis McChord. Much of the information online has not been updated to reflect the new location. The Ft. Knox Public Affairs Office has confirmed that they will post a LDAC 2014 Facebook group sometime in May. They will also post to the WarriorForge blog site in May. The WarriorForge Twitter account has not been updated since August of 2013, but I assume that, too, will start-up again in May. Family members can check these sites once they are active for updates and information on various aspects of LDAC. I did find a Reddit thread about LDAC 2014 too.

Each branch of the service has their own process. My son was Army so I do not have first hand experience with the other branches and their requirements.

For the Class of 2014 and your parents, Congratulations!!

My son was a senior your knob year. I was on campus for your Matriculation Day in 2010. The time has just flown by. Parents be sure to take lots of photos and video of the weekend.

The cycle for next year has already started. The Facebook group for the Parents of the Class of 2018 has over 70 members already. If you are the parent of a soon to be knob be sure to send me an email to request to join the group. My email address is located in the “About Dorie” section of this blog.

Welcome to The Citadel Class of 2018

waitingwithboxesEach year at about this time the search terms on my blog feature words all related to knob year and preparations for knob year. I’ve written welcome entries to new families for four years now. The tips and advice in each entry still stand. The links are posted below. I highly recommend you read each one. In this entry I will spend some time on recommendations for the various required items knobs MUST bring each year.

For the third year in a row I’ve posted a Facebook group for new parents. This year’s group. The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 has over 20 members so far. In addition to new parents, the group includes a few parents of graduates who volunteer their time to answer questions about this first year at The Citadel. If you have a student who will be in the Class of 2018 at The Citadel, please send me an email to request to join the group, dorie@dorielgriggs.com.

Each year the new parents seem to focus on a different aspect of required or Nice to Have Item on the official Success packet list or the Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List.” The parents of the class of 2016 asked a lot of questions about fine grade sand paper. The 2017 parents focused on the types of men’s underwear to purchase. It may sound silly even to those same parents now, but at the time these parents just wanted to make sure they sent their cadet off with everything they needed to succeed.

The most important items on the “Nice to have list” are the iron and travel size ironing board. Your cadet will iron, a lot. Spray starch is nice to have. Ask your cadet what they will want from the list. Shoe polish, rags, fine grade sand paper, a small plastic box with general medications, like ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine, band aids, Neosporin, and mole skin for their feet, are all good ideas to bring.

The list of required items changes very little from year to year. You MUST check the official list when it is posted for the Class of 2018. It will be linked on a Matriculation Day Headquarters link as well as to the Commandant’s Matriculation Day page on the school website. For this entry I will post what was on the list for the Class of 2017 with notes about the various items.

NOTE: The information below has been  updated since the first publication for the Class of 2018. 7/20/15

From pages 6 – 7 in the Fourth Class Success Packet for the Class of 2019: (Items in BOLD are my recommendations/comments)

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket ,
which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not. One plastic mattress
cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.
All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:
One pair [1] of conservative style pajamas (optional)

Many cadets wear their PT (physical training) clothes not pajamas. a bathrobe is issued to them.
Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts

Double the amount of tee shirts (24) they should fit snuggly so as not to wrinkle under their uniform shirts.
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton underwear – at least 6 pair jockey shorts (male)

6 pairs of the “Tighty whitey” type men’s briefs are required. The 6 pair will be folded and kept in a drawer for inspections. Other type of underwear can be worn under uniforms. Many prefer the boxer briefs for under their uniform pants. The brands linked here are for example only. You can purchase whatever brand you prefer. DOUBLE the amount (24)
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs

This is pretty straight forward for the female cadets.
One pair [1] of “long johns”

Long underwear top and bottom in a thin material and solid color are used for under their heavy wool uniforms in the late fall early winter. You can send these at the Thanksgiving break.
Twelve pairs [12] of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. Thick cotton socks are best. the Gold toe brand is good, but other makes are fine too. Some prefer the more expensive military socks to keep from developing blisters. Double the number of pairs of socks (24)
[Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and
in some cases secondary infections.]
Twelve pairs [12] of white, cotton athletic socks

Thick white CREW LENGTH socks are needed for knobs. The Gold Toe brand is good but others are as well. Look for high cotton content and no logos. Watch for sales at your favorite stores.
One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece)

Mostly black or blue. Minimal piping/stitching is OK. Lands End usually carries them, but you can find them at other stores or on Amazon. Sample of the men’s suit. Women’s suits at Lands End or Speedo or Tyr brands are pretty easy to find in a range of sizes.

One pair [1] of shower shoes [black]

Six [6] white, cotton towels

Double the amount of towels. Purchase in expensive towels form a store like Walmart or Target. They end up using their towels to clean. Do not spend a lot of money on good towels.

Six [6] washcloths

Double the amount of towels and buy inexpensive towels. Walmart has 18 for $4.00

One [1] standard sized pillow
Four [4] white pillow cases

Buy inexpensive pillow cases.

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed

Be sure to buy very inexpensive FLAT, not fitted sheets. They also use these to make banners. Most cadets make their bed then sleep on top of the made bed. DO NOT buy expensive sheets.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs

You can find these in Walmart or Target stores.

Toilet articles

What ever shaving and person care items your cadet uses. Include bar soap or liquid body wash. they do not need a a carrying bag.

One pair [1] of good cross training shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color
such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Buy the brand that fits your cadet best. Be sure they are broken in prior to Matriculation Day.

One pair [1] of good running shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color such
as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Many cadets have the same she for cross training and running. Buy what fits best.

Three pairs [3] of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with
physical training uniform

Compression type shorts that are optional under PT clothes

One pair [1] of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must
be and colored with a plain or capped toe
Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material
are not authorized [The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but
large sizes may not be readily available. Be sure boots are “broken in” prior to
arrival to prevent foot problems.]  Bates Brand, M-8 Desert Assault boots, 8″Height Other brands are available. You can order them online. Some sporting goods sell them at a good price. I use Google to find good prices.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized no larger than 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. 

One [1] overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container may not exceed 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. 

Containers: Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the Container Store carry containers that will meet the specifications.

Two pairs [2] of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that do not meet this criteria. Be sure all shoes are “broken in” prior to arrival to prevent foot problems.

Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability.
Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.

Additional items for female cadets:

Five [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras
Five [5] white or beige sports bras
Five pairs [5] of neutral, black, or skin colored pantyhose

One pair of black, military style, leather or corfam, pumps with closed toe and
closed heel with a ½ to 1.5 inch heel. Shoes are not to have straps or
any kind of buckle or decorative styling.

I am told the female knobs to not really need the stockings and pumps the first year.

One black, leather or flat black vinyl military style handbag, no larger than 8 ½ by
11 inches, with or without shoulder strap. Suede handbags are not
authorized. Handbag may have a handle or shoulder strap with a buckle.
Handbag may not have any decorative styling.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding, cadets shipping their belongings to the college must
bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and their pillow for use until they can access their
belongings.

The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:

One desk reading lamp
One picture with frame – no larger than 8”x10”

Most knobs do not keep a photo on their desk

One radio/stereo/CD player/tape recorder/player – speakers must be no larger
than 12”x 24”

It is best to wait to have a device like this until after Parents Weekend.

Computer and printer

For the school computer recommendations see this link.  If your cadet uses a MAC there is an Apple store in Charleston.

Alarm clock
Oscillating fan ONLY – box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized

Not needed in all barracks.

LUGGAGE

If you pack in card board boxes and trash bags there is no need to use the storage facility.

Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight
travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of
the cadet.

Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly
marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street,
Charleston, SC, 29409.

Previous entries about knob year preparations:

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Knob Year Notes for Parents

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first Day

Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.
Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.

January – A time for change

A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel. The weather should begin to warm up in Charleston by the end of February.
A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel. The weather should begin to warm up in Charleston by the end of February.

Each year at this time the cadets return to The Citadel for the start of second semester, just like other colleges around the country. It is a time of year most of the cadets dread, They return to campus after a month of warm beds, long hot showers, great food and time with their family and friends. On campus they resume their regimented schedules that include early morning physical training in the cold damp weather of the low country of South Carolina.

The knobs will begin to see the Recognition Day light at the end of the tunnel. The seniors just begin to realize that their time as members of the Corps of Cadets at The Citadel is coming to a close. The junior Bond Volunteer Aspirants begin the final steps towards Cuts Day and the hope of becoming a member of the Summerall Guards. Sophomore gain a few more privileges too. High school seniors are beginning to focus on preparing to join the Corps of Cadets.

The search terms people use to find this blog tell me that many cadets (and their parents too) are doing their homework. I have no way of knowing who is using these search terms, but I imagine the break down to be something like this:

The senior cadets and their parents are searching for topics like: Citadel gifts; life for graduates after The Citadel; Citadel graduation cake.

The knobs and their families are searching for: Citadel Recognition Day schedule (it isn’t posted yet); Citadel class of 2017

The high school seniors who will be in the Class of 2018 search for: pre-knob visit; what to pack for The Citadel; Citadel Success Institute (CSI); and my personal favorite this week, “is knob year awful.”

What ever may have brought you to this site, Welcome! I hope you find the answer to your questions here. Remember to use the search window on this site. I try to add the links to official information on the school website. You should also go to the citadel.edu website and use the search window there.

I wish every cadet (and future cadet) and their family the best where ever they are in the process of joining the Long Gray Line.