A military academy, also known as a service academy, is an educational institution that prepares candidates for officer corps service. It typically provides education in a military setting, with the exact definition varying depending on the country.
Fork Union Military Academy is one of the leading military academies in the United States. It is a top college preparatory military school for boys in grades 7 through 12 and postgraduate. Nationally recognized for emphasizing Christian values, high-quality academics, and outstanding athletic programs, the school adheres to its Body, Mind, and Spirit motto, “This is where success stories begin.”
History of Fork Union Military Academy
Fork Union Military Academy was founded in October 1898 by Dr. William E. Hatcher, a prominent Baptist minister, with nineteen students in the first class. The military structure provides young men with organization, discipline, and physical development. That mission continues today, with young men from 33 states and eight countries in grades 7th through 12th and a high school postgraduate program.
The academy adopted a military structure in 1902 to provide organization, discipline, and physical development for the boys of the rapidly expanding school. The academy became an all-male institution in 1913, and its name was changed to Fork Union Military Academy. That same year, the Baptist General Association of Virginia began funding the academy, which continues to this day.
The daily routine is structured using military organization. While the academy has no direct relationship with any military branch, the school’s military system has existed for over a century.
Some of its structures, such as the Guy E. Beatty Library, the Estes Dining Center, and Jacobson Hall, are named after benefactors who helped fund their construction. Other buildings on campus, such as Hatcher Hall and the Wicker Science Center, are named in honor or memory of people important in the school’s history, such as past school presidents.
The crest of FUMA depicts a pair of crossed swords, a book, and a star, each representing a different aspect of the school motto: body, mind, and spirit. They aim to educate, develop, and inspire young men in a Christian college preparatory environment. Cadets build their character while learning leadership, independence, confidence, responsibility, and discipline in an environment that promotes mental, physical, and spiritual growth.
The school provides cadets with various sports, clubs, and organizations to participate in during their free time during the week and on weekends. Athletics and clubs are a popular way for Fork Union cadets to escape the stresses of cadet life.
Standard and Advanced High School Diplomas are available. In addition, scholarships worth millions of dollars have routinely been awarded to graduating classes.
The “One Subject Strategy”
In the upper school (grades 9-12 and postgraduate), Fork Union follows a unique curriculum schedule called the One Subject Plan. In contrast to a traditional program of six to eight classes per day or a block schedule, cadets at Fork Union take one subject at a time. During that time, they spend the entire day with the teacher of that course.
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Fork Union Military Academy offers its cadets a structured military environment. Fork Union’s system includes uniforms, a military-style personnel organization, accountability for personal appearance and the state of one’s room, ranks, and a chain of command. The Corps of Cadets’ rank structure is similar to the US Army’s enlisted ranks, except for PV2 and Specialist. Its officer ranks are identical to those of the Army JROTC, with the rank of Cadet Colonel being rarely used.
Upper school cadets range in age from 9th grade to Postgraduate year. Jacobson Hall, which houses Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo Companies, houses Upper School cadets. Retan Rifle, a drill team company that only exists for special events, marches in parades throughout Virginia. Upper School marching band members, the Retan Rifles, and the Fork Union Bagpipe Corps march in parades on campus and throughout the state.
Each company has Cadet Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). Each company is divided into three platoons with its NCOs and officers. Platoons are divided into Squads, which Cadet Sergeants lead. Squad and Platoon leaders report to higher company leadership, adult members of the Commandant’s Department, and their Tactical Officers (TACs), who are assigned to each company to supervise the cadets.
Athletics Fork Union’s track and field team is one of the best in Virginia.
The athletic program at FUMA is best known for its football team, which has produced 117 NFL players, and its track and field team ranked as one of the best in Virginia.
Fork Union has only two postgraduate athletic programs. Frank Arritt is the head coach of the PG football team. Fletcher Arritt, the subject of the documentary “The Passing Game,” coached the PG basketball team.
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Lacrosse, Wrestling, Soccer, Cross Country, Track and Field, Orienteering, Shooting Sports, and Swimming and Diving are among the Prep teams with players in grades 9-12.
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Though new cadets frequently form new clubs to meet demand, the following clubs are more permanent: National Honor Society, Honor Council, International Club, IDEA Club, Scuba, Math Club, Speech and Debate, Robotics, Drama Club, Catholic Cadet Association, Chess Club, Band, Pep Band, Bagpipe Corps, Choir, and Woodworking.
Fork Union Military Academy Campus Breakdown
FUMA’s campus is set on 1,000 acres (400 ha) in the hills of Virginia’s Piedmont region. Here’s a breakdown of the campus so you can find your way around;
- Hatcher Hall houses administrative offices as well as liberal arts classrooms.
- Wicker Science Building and Moretz Learning Center – Math and Science classrooms, as well as the planetarium at Fork Union
- Vaughan Hall – Student Activities / Social Center
- Veterans Memorial at Wicker Chapel
- Guy E. Beatty Memorial Library
- Dorothy Estes Dining Center
- Thomas High School
- The Estes Athletic Complex is an 85,000-square-foot athletic facility.
- Aquatic Center at Fork Union
- Jacobson Hall: The 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2), 250-room barracks opened for cadets on August 20, 2012, and now houses Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Echo, and Delta companies, replacing both Snead and Memorial Halls for an estimated $20 million.
Fork Union is a member of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, as well as the National Association of Independent Schools and the Baptist General Association of Virginia.
How Much Does Fork Union Military Academy Tuition Cost?
Tuition and room and board at Fort Union cost around $39,000, fees are $2,250, and new cadet uniforms are $3,500.
How many NFL players have graduated from Fork Union Military Academy?
Over 117 NFL players are FUMA graduates.