Front & Center News from Fork Union Military Academy–October 12, 2018

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Stories in this issue:

  • Want to become even better?
  • Founders Day: Celebrating Our 120th Birthday
  • PHOTO ESSAY: Enjoying Lunch After Final Exams are Done
  • Coach Hooper announces his retirement from head coaching role
  • The View from Here: Remembering Earle Davis Gregory
  • Picture Day is Monday, October 15th
  • Flu Shots: It's that time of year again
  • PHOTO ESSAY: Flu Shot Expressions
  • Parent Association News
  • PHOTO ESSAY: October Birthdays

Want to become even better?

We encourage you to join our Corps of Cadets if you are a young man in the 7th to 12th grade, or interested in a postgraduate year!

We are looking forward to receiving your application and getting to know you—and, we hope, welcoming you to our campus.

We want you to be a part of us. Won't you take a few moments and apply now?

Col. Coggins speaks with prospective student families during the Columbus Day "Discover Fork Union" admissions event

Founders Day: Celebrating Our 120th Birthday

This Monday, October 15th, Fork Union Military Academy celebrates Founders Day. In other words, it will be FUMA's birthday, as the school turns 120 years old.

Dr. William E. Hatcher, Founder

The Academy was created in 1898 by the Reverend Dr. William E. Hatcher, a prominent Baptist preacher from Richmond who had married a Fork Union girl in 1865 and who maintained a summer home in Fork Union named Careby Hall.

Always on the lookout for ways to improve the community around him, Dr. Hatcher is said to have driven in his horse-drawn buggy past the wooded spot where Fork Union Military Academy now stands and remarked to friends, "Wouldn't that beautiful oak grove be a splendid place for a school?"

Dr. Hatcher, was a graduate of Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) and served as a trustee of the college for 42 years, from 1870 to the end of his life. Dr. Hatcher was serving as the President of the college's Board of Trustees during this time (his term as President ran from 1897-1908).

There were no public schools in those days to prepare students for college in this rural part of Virginia. He wanted to provide a place where the boys and girls in this rural part of Virginia could get a "classical" education in preparation for higher learning at schools like Richmond College.

The Reverend William E. Hatcher, founder of Fork Union Military Academy

Fork Union Academy opens October 15, 1898

Fork Union Academy, as it was first named, was described in those days as a "Classical Academy," and opened its doors on October 15, 1898.

Fork Union Academy opened that October of 1898 with nineteen students, both boys and girls. The first teacher was a graduate of Richmond College, now known as the University of Richmond, and his name was Mr. Julian B. Martin. Professor Martin was paid $47.50 per month for his services during the seven months of that very first school session.

Even the ladies wore uniforms during the Academy's earliest days as a military school. The long skirt, jacket, and mortarboard were worn every day as the girls' military uniform.

The military system was added after 1902 to provide discipline and physical conditioning. The school grew quickly as its reputation as a top educational institution began to spread around the state, and even around the world.

The Cadets of Fork Union Military Academy in formation in front of Snead Hall, the Academy's first building, in about 1908.

By 1913, the name of the school had been changed to Fork Union Military Academy and the school had phased out the girls and had become a boys only school with a military-style structure.

Help us celebrate this special 120th birthday on October 15th

On October 15th, we invite you to go to http://www.HappyBirthdayFUMA.com and make a donation to our scholarship fund as a birthday present to the Academy that will help us make the Fork Union Experience available to more cadets

Our goal is 120 donations (of any amount!) to our scholarship fund to honor each of our 120 years.

If we successfully reach this goal? Well, make sure you stay tuned to our social media networks this weekend to see just what kind of challenge we might have in mind for Col. Coggins if we make it to our goal of 120 donations! We'll be making an announcement soon.

Dr. Hatcher with the Corps of Cadets in about 1912. The photographer is facing in the direction of the current main gate entrance, with the building that now houses the Alumni Museum visible behind the Corps, and Fork Union Baptist Church in the background.
Our modern-day recreation of the 1912 photo

Enjoying Lunch After Final Exams are Done

Coach Hooper announces his retirement from head coaching role

Fork Union Military Academy Prep Football Head Coach Mike Hooper has announced his retirement as head football coach following the 2018 season.

"I have been fortunate to have been able to work and coach at Fork Union for a number of years, which has given me the opportunity to be involved with a great program and some very outstanding players and coaches,” said Hooper. “I would like to thank all who made this possible because without them this journey would not have been as enjoyable or fun."

Coach Mike Hooper

Hooper took over the Prep football program in March of 2016, following a lengthy career as assistant coach under Micky Sullivan and head Junior Prep coach. Hooper has been on staff at Fork Union Military Academy since 1988 and has taught Spanish and coached football, baseball, and other sports as needed at the Academy.

“Coach Hooper‘s decision to retire as head football coach is one he and I discussed a while back,” said Director of Athletics Brooks Berry. “Mike Hooper came to FUMA in 1988 and for three decades has given his heart and soul to this football program, athletic program and school. It is not by coincidence that five years after his arrival, FUMA would begin a run of eight state championships in 18 years. As an assistant under Micky Sullivan and as head Junior Prep Coach, Mike Hooper was instrumental helping build the foundation of a successful high school football program and athletic department.”

Born in Maryland but raised in the Tidewater area of North Carolina and Virginia, Hooper graduated from Isle of Wight Academy in 1973 and attended Brigham Young University. After serving a church mission to Guatemala from 1976 to 1978, Hooper transferred to Christopher Newport College (now Christopher Newport University) where he received his B.A. in Spanish in 1982.

As a man of principal and high character, our FUMA boys were always in great hands with Coach Hooper. He has made our boys at FUMA better men.

“He is an Athletic Director’s dream, when you need something done Hooper is the first to raise his hand and say how can I help. He has coached many sports here because he is always willing to do what is best for the team and program. As a man of principal and high character, our FUMA boys were always in great hands with Coach Hooper. He has made our boys at FUMA better men.”

Hooper accepted his first teaching job in 1984, teaching mathematics and Spanish at Albemarle Academy in North Carolina. He soon returned to Isle of Wight Academy to teach Spanish and coach three sports, including the baseball team that went 15-0 and won the 1986 Virginia Academies Athletic Conference championship.

“Thanks to Coach Hooper Fork Union Military Academy is a better place. I look forward to many more years working alongside him as he transitions to a different role in Fork Union Athletics,” said Berry.

Fork Union Military Academy will immediately begin a search for the next Head Prep Football Coach, someone who will be the leader of our High School Football Program.

Our Director of Guidance, COL Rob Feathers, took cadets on a College Road Trip to the University of Virginia

The View from Here

Remembering Earle Davis Gregory

One hundred years ago today, Earle Davis Gregory (Fork Union Military Academy Class of 1915) was in a tight spot.

A Sergeant with the 116th Infantry, 29th Division, his unit was in trouble, engaged in a fierce battle at Bois-de-Consenvoye, north of Verdun, France. Allied troops were beginning the second phase of Meuse-Argonne Offensive, seeking to drive the Germans out of the Argonne Forest, push them back into Germany, and put an end to the Great War, as World War I was then called. Pinned down and taking heavy fire from an enemy machine-gun nest, Sgt. Gregory and his buddies were less concerned with driving the Germans out of France, and more concerned with driving them out of the next trench.

From the 1915 Skirmisher

Sergeant Gregory had been in tight spots before. He'd been a member of the US Army since graduating from Fork Union Military Academy in 1915. In fact, Gregory had joined the Virginia National Guard while still a cadet. Following his graduation from high school, Gregory served as a private with the US Army in Mexico, chasing after the infamous revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa during the Mexican Expedition. It was while serving in Mexico that Gregory's leadership and initiative had fueled his rise to the rank of First Sergeant of his company before he'd reached his 20th birthday.

But Gregory's leadership skills and initiative had never faced a test like the one he was now facing.

Shouting, "I will get them," Sergeant Gregory grabbed a rifle and a mortar shell, which he planned to use as a hand grenade, and climbed out of his trench and began crawling in the direction of the enemy fire.

Due to his extraordinary actions on that day, October 8, 1918, Earle Davis Gregory became the first Virginian to be awarded the Medal of Honor for valor. The citation describes what happened next, as Sgt. Gregory "left his detachment of the trench-mortar platoon, and advancing ahead of the infantry, captured a machine gun and three of the enemy. Advancing still further from the machine-gun nest, he captured a 7.5-centimeter mountain howitzer and, entering a dugout in the immediate vicinity, single-handedly captured 19 of the enemy."

Those few words fall far short of describing the full measure of Gregory's courageous actions on that day, condensing the unimaginable sound and fury of combat into a sparse two sentences. Sgt. Gregory single-handedly saved his unit from decimation, captured heavy weapons, cleared a dugout, and took almost two dozen German soldiers as prisoners—by himself. It seems the stuff of movie scripts and best-selling novels.

In one of those odd twists of fate, on that same day, October 8, 1918, just 20 miles to the west of Gregory's position, another Army Sergeant captured an enemy machine gun nest, and, with the help of the seven soldiers remaining in his unit, took as his prisoners 132 German soldiers. That sergeant's name was Alvin York, and when his story was told in the Saturday Evening Post the following year, the name of Sergeant York became known all around the world as an American hero.

Sergeant Gregory, on the other hand, was wounded in the leg while attempting to seize another German trench three days later. He spent six months in the hospital recovering from his injuries and was honorably discharged from the Army on April 25, 1919. In a small ceremony at Camp Lee, Virginia four days later, Major General Omar Bundy presented Gregory with the Medal of Honor. The people of France also honored Gregory, presenting him with their nation's highest awards for valor, including the Croix de Guerre, the Medal of the Legion of Honor, the Médaille Militaire, and the Montengrin Order of Merit.

Earle Davis Gregory wearing his Medal of Honor

After the war, Gregory enrolled in college at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, now known as Virginia Tech, graduating in 1923 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was twice elected president of his class and in his senior year was elected president of the Corps of Cadets. For the next forty years, Gregory was closely involved in work with the Veterans Hospital in Washington, D. C., and in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he served as Assistant to the Chief of Staff until his retirement in 1962.

In 1963, Virginia Tech's military drill team was named the "Gregory Guard" in his honor.

The Gregory Guard, Virginia Tech's rifle drill team, was named in honor of Earle Davis Gregory

In 1972, Gregory died at the age of 74 and is buried in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Cadet Stupalski portrayed Sgt. Earle Davis "Foots" Gregory during events on campus this week honoring the Fork Union alumnus who was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I

Flu Shots: It's that time of year again

These days, many of us have to be reminded to "get your flu shot." There seems to be little urgency about that annual medical precaution, and some people seem to believe that it's just a waste of their time. But we don't feel that way on the campus of Fork Union Military Academy.

Each year, the nurses in our infirmary perform the annual ritual of inoculating all of our cadets, faculty, and staff members against this potentially dangerous illness. It is a responsibility we take very seriously here at the Academy.

The 100th Anniversary of the Spanish Flu Pandemic

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of a deadly strain of influenza known as Spanish Flu that struck in 1918 and killed millions. In the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 675,000 died. Around the world, the toll was staggering with estimates ranging from 50 million to as high as 100 million deaths, or up to 5% of the entire world's population.

In Fluvanna County, Virginia, where Fork Union Military Academy is located, 46 people died from the Spanish Flu in 1918. The first four deaths in the county were cadets of Fork Union Military Academy who each died between September 25 and September 30 of 1918. We lost four cadets in just five days to this deadly pandemic.

Thankfully, the devastating scale of this pandemic has not been repeated, and vaccines have been developed and medical care has improved in the past century. But Fork Union Military Academy remains extra vigilant in protecting the health of our cadets, and the nurses in our well-staffed infirmary makes careful preparations each year to prevent the spread of illness on campus.

Flu Shot Expressions

Picture Day is Monday, October 15th

Lifetouch will be on campus this coming Monday, October 15th, to take school pictures of our cadets and faculty/staff for the Skirmisher yearbook.

Day Students: Remember to wear Class A

Day students are reminded that the uniform for the day is Class A (white shirt, black tie, and dress blouse) for all cadets. This is a change from the normal Monday uniform of regular BDUs.

Parents: Save time and money by ordering today

Go to my.lifetouch.com and enter Picture Day ID RV018057Q0 plus your cadet's name and grade.

The Picture Day ID will only work through Monday, October 15th.

After Monday, a unique code will be issued for every cadet and must be used to order pictures. Please look for this code via an email directly from Lifetouch. This email will be sent in the weeks following picture day.

Math Club

Parent Association News

Family Weekend

The schedule for our annual Family and Parents Weekend has been published. Mark your calendars to be on campus October 19th and 20th.

New Parents Association items will be available to purchase during Family Weekend

Last Chance to RSVP for the Tailgate Event

The Parents Association is holding a Tailgate event prior to the prep soccer home game to be held on the Friday of our Family Weekend on October 19th.

There will be a tailgate tent set up next to the press box with burgers, hotdogs, watermelon and drinks. Please bring a side (last name A-K) or dessert (last name L-Z) to share.

Email shannonh@fuma.org with your cadet’s name, the total number attending, and what you plan to contribute to the tailgate. Please take into account you will not have access to electricity or cooling for your dish and bringing an item is optional and appreciated.

Don’t forget to visit the Parents Association tent to buy your FUMA gear and raffle tickets.

A request from our Art Classes

Box Tops for Education

The deadline is approaching for our Box Tops for Education program. All Box Tops must be received by Saturday, October 20th.

T-Shirt Sale

The Parents Association will be selling Fork Union T-Shirts to raise funds for special projects. T-shirts will be shipped after Thanksgiving for $5 per shirt or can be picked-up on campus prior to Thanksgiving leave. Order deadline is Saturday, October 20th. If you would like to order more then five shirts please place separate orders or contact Shannon Higginbotham at 434-842-4370.

Want more info?

You may contact Shannon Higginbotham, our Director of Annual Giving and Parent Relations, by phone at 434-842-4370 and by email at shannonh@fuma.org. You can keep up with important information for parents in the Parents section of our website located at:

October Birthdays

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Thank you!

Created By
Daniel Thompson


Photos by: COL Al Williamson, Kate Pendergrass, Dan Thompson, & Charles Thomas

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