Recognition Day one of the most anticipated for freshmen
It is the most anticipated day of the academic year for freshmen – Recognition Day.
An annual rite of spring, sophomores and juniors are anticipating a new academic year and their new leadership positions in the Corps of Cadets. Seniors are simply antsy to get their diplomas and get on with their military careers, graduate school or jobs in the work world.
But the knobs are counting the days and minutes until the fourth class year ends.
Recognition Day signifies the end of the freshman journey as knobs. The regimented knob lifestyle -- short haircuts, frequent bracing, walking fast paced in single file -- will cease on Recognition Day, which this year is Saturday, April 19. It is the culmination of the rigid discipline endured throughout knob year and the beginning of a new chapter in The Citadel’s leadership development process.
The Citadel has a tough and challenging Fourth Class System. Its purpose is to lay the foundation for the development of character and discipline central to the college’s mission. The Fourth Class System represents an abrupt change from the life normally experienced at home and encompasses the cadet’s first year of college.
“Pride in self, pride in unit, pride in the Corps and pride in The Citadel are themes we are working very hard to ensure are evident throughout Recognition Day,” said Commandant of Cadets Col. Greg Stone.
This year, Recognition Day comes a week early and has several new elements designed to enhance the academic success of the Corps of Cadets during exams and to refocus on the college mission of excellence in the education and development of principled leaders.
“We’ve tried to create a demanding and meaningful event that coupled with the traditional events of the day will result in an inspiring and memorable experience,” Stone said.
Recognition events have expanded to include pre-training that began two weeks ago and will conclude on Recognition Day.
Also planned is the Warrior Challenge and symbolic events such as the March to Marion Square and a class dinner, said Col. Jeff Weart, director of the Krause Leadership Initiative.
No one should think things have gotten easier, however.
"It is still challenging and will remain tough,” said Regimental Commander Cadet Col. Chase Mohler, Class of 2008. “This is not an easy day. It will be both demanding and motivational as a culminating event for the fourth class."
Recognition Day will begin at 5:30 a.m. with regimental physical training and regimental run. After breakfast, freshmen will undergo additional training on leadership and The Citadel experience. A rigorous team-building event, the Warrior Challenge begins late morning and will consist of a series of timed physically demanding team-building tasks conducted in a round-robin fashion and designed to get the freshmen to work together to complete a task.
“These team-building tasks will enhance leadership, communication skills and performance under stress,” Weart said.
The Warrior Challenge will be followed by the traditional class set of pushups in each company and the recognition ceremony in which knobs will be acknowledged by their first names by all upperclassmen and welcomed into the Corps of Cadets. This traditional and moving ceremony ends the Fourth Class System for the Class of 2011.
After lunch the Class of 2011 will leave campus at 3:30 p.m. to march through the heart of downtown Charleston to Marion Square, site of the original Citadel campus, for the “Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green.” The oath ceremony begins at 4 p.m. The cadets will be joined by members of the Washington Light Infantry, the organization that deeded the old Citadel to the first Corps of Cadets in 1843. The day ends with a class Recognition Day dinner at 6 p.m.
“The march to Marion Square provides an opportunity for the local community and Citadel families to come out and support the Class of 2011 as they symbolically complete their first year,” Mohler said.
Moving Recognition Day from the Wednesday after exams to the Saturday before exams gives cadets, in particular rising sophomores and juniors, new leadership development and training opportunities that have not existed before.
“The events that are a part of this year’s Recognition Day are more professional and will instill a fervent sense of pride in our rising upperclass cadets,” Mohler said. “In particular, I am looking forward to the march to the old Citadel because its gives the Corps the opportunity to be out in the Charleston community for this special event.”
Following Recognition Day, the freshmen will have before them the opportunity to take on new responsibilities for company level duties. They have also earned additional cadet privileges like extended curfew on leave nights and permission to use the upperclass canteen.
“Recognition Day is not the end but the beginning of the journey a Citadel cadet will take toward graduation day,” Weart said. “It signifies that the fourth class as a whole has successfully met the military training requirements expected and are now ready to take on new leadership roles in the Corps of Cadets.”
Highlights of Recognition Day
*Outdoor(**) events are open to spectators, however, attendance at Recognition Day events is restricted to cadets and Citadel staff.
5:30 a.m. -- Regimental physical training*
10:30 a.m. -- Warrior Challenge*
11:50 a.m. -- Class set and recognition
12:30 a.m. -- Regimental BBQ
3:30 p.m. -- March to Marion Square*
4 p.m. -- "Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green"*
6 p.m. -- Class of 2011 Recognition Day dinner