Front & Center News from Fork Union Military Academy–January 16, 2017

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Stories in this issue:

  • RADM Burhoe Delivers New Year's Message
  • The Cube
  • Chili Wars: The First Battle
  • Cadets Volunteer at National Special Olympic Tennis Tournament
  • Guidance Department Upcoming Special Events for Cadets
  • Saturday Class on January 28
  • Vote for Fork Union Military Academy
  • Restaurant Outing for International Cadets and Mentors
  • He Laid Every Brick
A snowy day on campus

RADM Burhoe Delivers New Year's Message

"There is a tradition here at Fork Union," RADM Burhoe told students in a chapel message this past week, "where the President speaks at one of the first chapel services of the New Year. It reinforces the importance of Christianity to this school and gives me the chance to share my walk of faith."

Rear Admiral Burhoe's message concluded with a verse from 1 Corinthians16:13, "Be on your guard; Stand firm in the faith; Be men of courage; Be strong."

Cadets in chapel

The Cube

Keeping up with the basketball teams this season has been made much easier by a group of dedicated cadets who form our "Cube Team." These young men (Jackson Simon, Andrew Schultz, Oliver Long, Thailan Pay, and Keaton Clark) give up their free time to help broadcast the home games for all four of our basketball teams: middle school, junior prep, prep, and postgraduate.

The Cube Crew

The Cube is an online video broadcast service based in San Francisco that provides free web streaming for live and recorded video, and facilitates the sharing of videos through social media. It is free to view and broadcast video content, as the site is supported by advertising revenue. The site says that 10,000 high schools across the nation have used The Cube to stream videos of their events, and nearly 350 football games are broadcast on The Cube each weekend during the season.

Last week's game versus Woodberry Forest was broadcast on The Cube

We encourage you to visit Fork Union Military Academy's Cube and sign up to follow our broadcast events.

Pruitt Lake in the snow

Chili Wars: The First Battle

Alpha Company Wins by One Vote

In the first installment of our annual Chili Wars, the competition was hot between Alpha Company and Charlie Company. Larry McIlnay, the Director of FUMA's Dining Service, reports that the voting was very close, with the winner leading by only one vote. The panel of judges also found it hard to declare a clear winner, both teams did so well.

Ultimately, Alpha Company was declared the winner of the first face-off. But because the decision was so close, Charlie Company has earned a second chance in the competition and will be allowed to compete again at a later date to be determined.

The competition continues! The published competition schedule, subject to change, is as follows:

  • Thursday, January 19: Bravo Company vs. Echo Company
  • Thursday, January 26: Academic Department vs. Athletic Department
  • Thursday, February 2: Winner of Alpha/Charlie vs. Winner of Bravo/Echo
  • Thursday, February 8: Chili Championship (Cadet Winner vs. Staff & Faculty Winner)
Evening CQ (Study Time)

Cadets Volunteer at National Special Olympic Tennis Tournament

On Thursday and Friday, January 12th and 13th, twenty four of our cadets participated as volunteers at the National Special Olympic tennis tournament, held annually at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, VA.

The cadets who volunteered Thursday evening helped to lead the opening ceremony, carrying placards representing 14 states and Switzerland. Friday's volunteers participated as ball boys, running the width of the court and behind the serving line, retrieving balls at the net and out-of-bounds to ensure the flow of each game. The cadets enjoyed interacting with the players and were duly impressed by the level of play that they witnessed on the courts.

This community service opportunity, arranged through the Guidance Department, has involved our cadets for the past five years, and we look forward to our continued participation in the years to come.

Cadets in service to community with the Special Olympics

Guidance Department Upcoming Special Events for Cadets


Saturday Class on January 28

You might have a copy of a school calendar that has a typographical error regarding the dates for Saturday class and SAT testing in January. This error has been corrected on the calendars online, but some print calendars in circulation might have the dates switched. The correct schedule is:

  • Saturday Class on January 28, 2017
  • SAT Testing on January 21, 2017
Ring Ceremony to be held Thursday, February 2nd at 10:15 AM

Vote for Fork Union Military Academy

Virginia Living magazine is collecting votes for their Best of 2017 issue. Be sure to cast your vote now for Fork Union Military Academy as the Best Independent School.

How to vote:

  1. Click "Vote Now" button below to go to website
  2. Scroll down the web page and select "Click here to get started!"
  3. Enter your email address and select the "Central" region
  4. Vote in as few or as many of the 106 categories as you wish
  5. Make sure you cast your vote on item #52 Best Independent School and enter "Fork Union Military Academy, Fork Union"
  6. Note that item #106 requires an answer. "None" will work if you have no other choice to offer
  7. You don't have to take the whole survey at once...if you exit and return to the survey from the same device and web browser your choices will be saved and re-displayed
  8. Limit one ballot per person
  9. When you have finished voting for all of your desired "bests," click the "Submit Survey" button and your vote will be cast

You have until 11:59 PM on Friday, January 27, 2017 to submit your ballot.

The "Best of 2017" issue is determined by popular vote. The "Top Schools" issue, which has selected Fork Union Military Academy as an Editor's Choice for each of the past several years is determined by the magazine staff.

Cadets sign up to participate in SCUBA Club

Restaurant Outing for International Cadets and Mentors

On Friday, January 14, a group of mentors and new international students enjoyed a special outing in Richmond, VA. The group, led by Major Butt and Mrs. Giszack, dined at Mezeh, a Mediterranean style eatery and then enjoyed an unseasonably warm afternoon at the Short Pump Town Center. This is just one example of the type of interactions designed for our new international students to help them acclimate to the life at the Academy and for their mentors to show hospitality and leadership.

Each class day begins with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag

He Laid Every Brick

The John J. Wicker Memorial Chapel was built brick by brick in 1936-1937 by one man, an Italian immigrant named Felix de Panicis.

Felix de Panicis came to New York from Italy in 1906 seeking the “land of opportunity.” During the Great Depression, de Panicis came south looking for more work. A bricklayer by trade, de Panicis found a job in Richmond building the brick-lined manholes in the city streets. Quite by chance, one of his employers mentioned to Dr. Wicker how impressive was de Panici’s dedication to performing a job as simple and unassuming as constructing manholes.

Seeking someone of character and ability to build a chapel for the Academy, Dr. Wicker watched de Panicis work, and was also impressed by the obvious care he took with each task.

The mason carefully applied just the right amount of mortar to each brick and placed it carefully. As he observed the man work, so patient and particular in the placement of each red brick, Dr. Wicker realized that the bricks de Panicis was laying would soon be covered by pavement and would serve only to divert stormwater into Richmond's sewer system.

"Why are you putting such careful work into this brickwork?" Dr. Wicker asked the mason. "No one is ever going to see this."

The Italian mason turned to Dr. Wicker after a moment and replied, "There is only one way to lay brick, and I'm going to do it the right way."

Dr. Wicker hired him on the spot.

Felix de Panicis' son and several FUMA cadets helped carry bricks up the scaffolding, but Felix personally laid each of the nearly 250,000 oversize black and red bricks of the chapel in the distinctive Flemish bond pattern.

Inside the chapel's foyer is a plaque that reads:


Wicker Chapel stands today as a testament to this humble man who took great pride in performing even his simplest jobs.

Created By
Daniel Thompson


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

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