Front & Center News from Fork Union Military Academy–April 3, 2017

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Stories in this issue:

  • Delegate Chris Head to Give the Commencement Address at Fork Union Military Academy
  • Cadets from Interact Club invited to address Fluvanna Rotary Club
  • Afternoons in springtime: Athletics & PT
  • PHOTO ESSAY: Athletics & PT
  • Alumnus, Ernest Wilford, recognized for his community service
  • CLUB SPOTLIGHT: Cooking Club
  • Our Admissions Open Houses
  • PHOTO ESSAY: Heading home for a leave weekend
Lacrosse practice in the springtime

Delegate Chris Head to Give the Commencement Address at Fork Union Military Academy

Chris Head, who represents the 17th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, has accepted the invitation from RADM J. Scott Burhoe, the president of Fork Union Military Academy, to be this year's commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony to be held on May 27, 2017. Delegate Head is the father of Cadet Michael Head, a senior in the Class of 2017 who has attended the Academy since August 2013 when he enrolled as a freshman. Delegate Head and his wife, Betsy, live in the Roanoke area and have three children.

Delegate Chris Head, Virginia House of Delegates

Head is a longtime business owner, operating a franchise of Home Instead Senior Care, which provides in-home care for seniors in Roanoke and Lynchburg. He was recognized as Small Business of the Year by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2009. It was his experience dealing with the growing number and complexity of state and federal regulations affecting his business that motivated him to seek elective office and work to create a better business environment in Virginia. When the incumbent from the 17th House district retired in 2009, Head ran for the nomination of the Republican party, finishing second in a primary with five candidates. When the winner of that 2009 contest chose not to seek reelection in 2011, Head was nominated for the seat as the Republican candidate and won election to the House of Delegates.

Head represents parts of Roanoke, Roanoke County, and Botetourt County in Virginia's House of Delegates. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Business Development Caucus in the House and serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, and the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee.

In February 2017, Delegate Head sponsored House Resolution 380 honoring the life and service of the Academy's late Commandant of Cadets, Duane Fender.

A rainy day on campus this past week

Cadets from Interact Club invited to address Fluvanna Rotary Club

Four cadets from Fork Union Military Academy were invited to speak to the Fluvanna County Rotary Club in Palmyra, Virginia this past week as representatives of the Fork Union Military Academy Interact Club. The local Rotary Club invited Cadets Cong Minh Bui, Geon Woo Han, Joshua Henriques, and Maurice Khoury to their meeting to talk about their experiences at a Rotary Club leadership conference for young people held February 18-20, 2017 in Wakefield, Virginia.

Each year, the Rotary Club of Fluvanna sponsors two students each from both the Fork Union Military Academy and Fluvanna County High School Interact Clubs to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference. The RYLA conference is a three-day event focusing on leadership development, group dynamics, and team building. It is attended by selected students from Rotary District 7600, throughout the eastern half of Virginia. The attending students identify and develop potential community service projects that they can take back to their home Interact Clubs for possible implementation. This year's conference attendees from Fork Union Military Academy were Cadets Joshua Henriques and Maurice Khoury. Cadets Geon Woo Han and Cong Minh Bui were attendees at last year's conference and were asked to return to the conference this year as alumni staff serving as group leaders for the weekend.

After the rain...a rainbow over campus

Afternoons in springtime: Athletics & PT

Spring sports are underway at Fork Union Military Academy, and that means lots of baseball, lacrosse, tennis, and track & field. For those cadets not participating in a team sport, PT time provides opportunity for physical activity and fitness development within each cadet company.

Alumnus, Ernest Wilford, recognized for his community service

Fork Union Military Academy alumnus Ernest Wilford was recently honored for his community service in Jacksonville, Florida.

The name Ernest Wilford may sound somewhat familiar, particularly if you are a sports fan.

The Fork Union Military Academy cadet (Class of 1999) became a wide receiver in the National Football League, drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL draft after an outstanding college career as a receiver at Virginia Tech. Wilford played four years with the Jaguars before signing a $13 million contract to play for the Miami Dolphins. Wilford returned to the Jaguars in 2009 and left the NFL after the 2010 season.

In 2015, Ernest Wilford joined a new team in Jacksonville, Florida: the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Wilford has called it the "dream job" that he hoped for following his NFL playing career. He enjoys serving the citizens of the community that cheered him on during his playing days, and his dedication to giving back to that community is evident.

Officer Ernest Wilford (right) accepts a Peer Achievement Award from Undersheriff Pat Ivey at the March 2017 Meritorious Awards Ceremony. (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office)

In March 2017, Wilford was awarded the Peer Achievement Award by the Sheriff's Office, recognizing his meritorious service to the community. Read more about Wilford's move from football to law enforcement, and the examples of his going above and beyond the call of duty to help citizens in need in this article in the Florida Times-Union posted at

Cadets in the Social Center


Ms. Robbin Dodson (center) with some of the members of the Cooking Club

The Cooking Club meets with club sponsor, Robbin Dodson, on Wednesday evenings most weeks. The club works together to prepare different types of food, some of which are requests from the cadets, and some are food items Ms. Dodson thinks they should learn how to prepare. They learn how to handle and prepare ingredients, chop, deep fry, steam, and well as how to clean up the kitchen.

Recently, COL Chris Nothnagle made Orange Cookies with the boys. Mrs. Sidwell will be the guest Chef this month to make egg rolls and wonton. This past week, the club prepared an Asian Beef Noodle Salad using fresh ingredients that are in season at this time (a lesson about seasonal foods). Ingredients included fresh corn, leaf lettuce, peppers, ramen noodles, and sirloin strip steak. The cadets created a delicious Asian dressing for the salad.

The Cooking Club created this delicious Asian Beef Noodle Salad

The cadets raise money for the supplies they use each week. They hold a bake sale each year, and have sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts this year to fund kitchen supplies. They also plan to sell Sno-Cones to raise money for the Fountain Restoration Project to honor their late Commandant, COL Duane Fender.

Cadets who participate in the Cooking Club must have less than 75 demerits at any point during the school year, and are not allowed to attend meetings if they are receiving passing grades in their current classes. Cadets Andrew Schultz, Kyle Close, Oliver Long, and Jeff Zhao have participated this year as members of the Cooking Club.


The Judo Club meets under the leadership of staff sponsor Tim Redden, the school's Vice President for Development, and a longtime Judo practitioner and coach. The club members learn and practice their techniques and participate in regional Judo competitions.

CPT Goad's 7th grade class

Our Admissions Open Houses

Be sure to spread the word! Our Admissions Team might soon be coming to a location near you!

Also, we have some special mid-week Open Houses scheduled on campus very soon.

We encourage you to invite your friends and neighbors to learn more about Fork Union Military Academy and whether our college prep environment might be a good fit for one of their young men. Check out the upcoming schedule of admissions events:

  • APR08—Admissions Fair in Columbus, OH—9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • APR08—Admissions Fair in Fairfax, VA—9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • APR09—Admissions Fair in Cleveland, OH—1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • APR11—Mid-Week Open House—9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • APR12—Mid-Week Open House—9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • APR13—Mid-Week Open House—9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • APR22—Admissions Open House—9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Heading home for a leave weekend

Created By
Daniel Thompson


Photos by: COL Al Williamson, Kate Pendergrass, RADM Burhoe, & Charles Thomas

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