Front & Center News from Fork Union Military Academy–December 5, 2016

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Stories in this issue:

  • It's Christmas Time on Campus
  • Fork Union Cadets Enjoy a Road Trip to Liberty University
  • PHOTO ESSAY: Annual Blood Drive Helps American Red Cross
  • Robotics Team Awarded Trophy in First Competition of the Year
  • Athletes Honored at Awards Ceremony
  • His Life Came Full Circle Back to Fork Union
  • The Heisman High School
  • The Eddie George Interview
  • A Tale of Two Edwards
CPT Jason Biette, a science instructor, brings an advent message to chapel.

It's Christmas Time on Campus

The tree is up in Hatcher Hall, and the sound of Christmas music can be heard across campus during class breaks and after the class day in the afternoons up until dinner time. The music, which used to be played from speakers high atop the Titmus Tower of Wicker Chapel, now originates from near the Commandant's Office outside Jacobson Hall. The speakers on top of Wicker Chapel eventually wore out after generations of music played through them each December, but the December tradition has continued. Today, you're likely to hear a wide and eclectic mix of contemporary Christian music, R&B and country versions of Christmas classics, as well as hymns of the season as you walk across the campus.

Ann and Linda worked hard to get the Christmas tree up and decorated in Hatcher Hall this past week.
The entrance hall of Hatcher Hall is looking a bit more festive in December.

Fork Union Cadets Enjoy a Road Trip to Liberty University

The Guidance Department at Fork Union sponsors several college visits during the school year to help our students gain a greater awareness of college life and the expectations colleges and universities have of incoming freshmen. A cadre of cadets recently traveled to Liberty University with Ms. Jenny Payne, our College Placement Officer, and COL Rob Feathers, our Guidance Director.

The FUMA group received a warm welcome from the Admissions Director and a thorough tour of the campus led by one of the University’s students. The tour included visits to several classrooms buildings, the student center, several dorms, the University bookstore, the convocation center, the recreation and fitness center, and the University’s dining hall, where the cadets and chaperones enjoyed an all-you-can-eat meal from an array of selections. The tour ended with a presentation offered by a representative of the University’s admissions department regarding entrance requirements and the financial aid process.

Annual Blood Drive Helps American Red Cross

Staff, faculty, maintenance workers, administration employees, and cadets all volunteered to donate blood.

Each pint donated can assist up to three persons with platelets, whole blood, and plasma.

Thank you to MAJ John Justice, Echo Company TAC Officer, and Mrs. Debi Justice, Infirmary Nurse, for organizing this year's drive.

Robotics Team Awarded Trophy in First Competition of the Year

Staff advisors Joshua Adams and Jamie Krogh took the Robotics Team to their first interscholastic competition of the year this past weekend. Although the team was disappointed to bow out of the competition at the semifinals level, they brought home the prestigious Rockwell Collins Innovation Award for their robot.

The Competition

The competition takes place on an enclosed "field" with two baskets in the center into which the robot can throw "particles" (blue or red balls, based on the team). According to the team's staff advisor Joshua Adams, the Fork Union robot "has a free throw percentage closer to Shaq's than Kobe's right now" and is capable of firing two particles toward the goals. Other robotic tasks include lifting a large "yoga ball" into the basket, pushing a beacon on the front wall matching the color of the team, and parking the robot on the appropriate ramp. Some of the competition requires the robot to perform such feats in "autonomous" mode, with no input from its operators.

The Team's First Five Matches

The team's day started out with a log of promise. Last year at this early point in the season, the team's robot literally fell apart on the field and the team had to clean up the pieces of it. The team had practiced hard so far this year and had built a much sturdier robot in which they had a lot of confidence. Many robots in the weekend competition wouldn't start or failed inspection, which is commonly what happens at this early point in the year. But Fork Union Military Academy's robot started and passed inspection and barely lost the opening match in a 45-50 squeaker. The team won their second match in a 90-20 blowout of their competition.

The team won their next two matches handily, but during the fifth match of the day, the team's robot decided to lay down on the job, literally. It flipped itself during the autonomous phase but fortunately was able to get right side up once again. However it was not enough to win the match, and the team fell out of the top four teams in the standings.

Video of Round #4:

The Semifinals

The Fork Union team was selected by the captain of the fourth-ranked team to be in their alliance along with another team to participate in the best two out of three semifinal matches. The first match was lost narrowly, but in the second match of the semifinals, the team's robot simply wasn't firing on all cylinders and lost in a landslide, ending the team's competitive day.

The Rockwell Collins Innovation Award

The day was not lost, however, as the Fork Union team was presented with the Rockwell Collins Innovation Award, presented for meeting the following criteria:

  • Respect and gracious professionalism towards everyone they encounter at the event.
  • An Engineering Notebook with an Engineering section that documented the Design Process and how the team arrived at their design solution.
  • Robot assembly must be elegant and unique in its design. Components must be stable, robust, and work reliably.
  • Robot is efficient and consistent with team strategy.
we've got many things to work on as we fell just shy of our goal of making it to states, we get one more try next weekend at Battlefield High School up in Northern Virginia, so if you see our guys this week encourage them to work hard and next weekend we can do this. —Joshua Adams, Staff Advisor to team
Mr. George Morris, chaplain to the football & basketball teams at the University of Virginia, and the Director of UVa's Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visited the campus and spoke with cadets during chapel this past week.

Athletes Honored at Awards Ceremony

Athletes who participated in the fall sports season were honored this past week during the Fall Athletic Awards ceremony in Wicker Chapel. The video below, created by our Sports Information Director, Kelly Shuman, includes all honorees:

Hair today, gone tomorrow

His Life Came Full Circle Back to Fork Union

John came to Fork Union Military Academy from his home in Bessemer City, North Carolina. But don't let the name "City" fool you. John's hometown, where he was known as "Buck," had fewer than 4,000 residents. Because his family did not have much money, Buck had to work throughout his time at FUMA, helping to earn his own tuition. Despite this extra workload, Buck graduated from FUMA in June of 1941 as the President of his class, and ranked 11th out of 86 seniors.

Buck's hard work did not go unnoticed. The Headmaster at that time, Nathaniel J. Perkins, wrote a letter of recommendation for Buck, describing him as possessing a number of outstanding qualities: "excellent character - dependable and trustworthy, unbounded energy, amenable to discipline, loyalty to school and its officers, a most pleasing personality, a most promising young man in every particular, a devoted Christian." Perkins predicted that "he will reach a position of importance in life."

That prediction came true. Buck left North Carolina State University after just one year to join the Army as a private to serve in World War II. Buck was soon selected to attend Officers School and found himself commanding a company of US Army Combat Engineers in Europe, where he served with distinction. After the war, Buck returned to North Carolina to begin a business career that saw him rise quickly through management and executive positions. Buck joined the Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation in 1949. By 1952 he was named Executive Vice President. In 1970, he became the President and then Chief Executive Officer. Buck helped grow the company from revenues of $60 million when he became CEO in 1970, to $350 million or more at the time of his retirement in 1985.

John L. "Buck" Fraley did not forget the school that had given him his start on the road to success and that helped him learn important lessons about leadership and life. He wanted to give back to the Academy, and to make a difference in the lives of cadets attending the school. His sizable donation to Fork Union Military Academy helped fund the renovation of the historic circle in front of Hatcher Hall.

The new flagpole, paved walkways, attractive landscaping, and comfortable benches made the circle a place where cadets could gather in their free time for a comfortable rest, conversation with friends, and quiet contemplation.

Buck Fraley died in 2001, but the benches and beauty of his legacy, Fraley Circle, are still enjoyed by cadets today and for years to come.

The Heisman High School

This coming Saturday, December 10th, the Heisman Trophy will be awarded for the 82nd time.

The Heisman Trophy has been awarded 81 times since it was first originated in 1935, honoring the most outstanding college football player in the NCAA. It's remarkable to think that football powerhouses like Penn State and the University of Alabama have only produced one Heisman winner each, while little Fork Union Military Academy, a small high school with barely more than one hundred graduates each year, has produced two Heisman Trophy winners, and a third Heisman finalist.

  • In 1986, Miami's quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, became the first former FUMA cadet to win the Heisman Trophy.
  • Eddie George, the Ohio State running back, won his Heisman in 1995.
  • Chris Perry, a running back at Michigan, was a finalist in the 2003 Heisman hunt, placing fourth in the voting.
(Vinny Testaverde (FUMA Class of 1982) & Eddie George (FUMA Class of 1991)
A little jump rope PT across from Jacobson Hall

The Eddie George Interview

In 2014, we had the opportunity to sit down with Eddie George on the campus of Fork Union Military Academy and engage him in a wide-ranging interview about his time at Fork Union, the highs and lows of his playing career at Ohio State University and in the National Football League, and what kind of life he was pursuing following his NFL career, including playing Othello and Julius Caesar on the stage in national Shakespeare festivals.

The entire interview, edited into nine parts, runs just over 40 minutes in length...but each individual segment displays the depth of Eddie's character, his humility, the obstacles he's had to overcome throughout each and every stage of his life, and how he defines success in his life today. His full-length interview is inspiring and uplifting, and we encourage you to find time in the days ahead to watch a video or two each day and let Eddie's story fill your heart and lift your spirits.

Outside the entrance door to Wicker Chapel

A Tale of Two Edwards

Many people already knew that NFL All-Pro running back Eddie George (FUMA Class of 1991; FUMA PG Class of 1992) was recruited to play football by Ohio State University and went on to win the Heisman Trophy there.

But did you also know that while Eddie was attending Fork Union, Edward Jennings, a FUMA alumnus from the Class of 1954, was finishing his nine-year term as the President of Ohio State University?

Fork Union alumnus Edward Jennings was the 10th president of Ohio State University

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Edward Jennings served as the 10th president of Ohio State University from 1981 to 1990 and then again as interim president from July 1 to September 30, 2002. He was the president of the University of Wyoming from 1979 to 1981 and prior to that served as vice president of finance and university services at the University of Iowa from 1976 to 1979, where he was a member of the finance faculty for ten years.

Jennings received his doctorate in finance from the University of Michigan, a master's of business administration from Case Western Reserve University, and his bachelor's degree in industrial management from the University of North Carolina.

A member of the Class of 1954 at Fork Union Military Academy, Dr. Jennings is now retired and resides in Florida.

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Created By
Daniel Thompson


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

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