Friday morning provided new beginnings with respect to distinguished, influential figures on the Georgia Military College campus.
GMC Prep School cadets completed first formation signifying the beginning of fall classes.
New GMC president Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV has two children entering the seventh and ninth grades. Caldwell’s extensive army service didn’t exempt him from normal duties the day prior.
“As a parent last night, I was going through what many other parents went through,” Caldwell said. “The kids were asking a million questions. Because I was in the army, they assume I know how to put the uniforms together. I was reading the instructions just like any other parent was.”
Similar to fresh cadet faces, the replacement for Maj. Gen. Peter Boylan (Ret.), GMC president emeritus, has a learning institution curve.
“There is a tremendous amount to learn. I’m just glad everyone is helping me along the way,” Caldwell said.
The prep school’s educational rigor readies students for “huge opportunities in the future,” according to Caldwell.
The current GMC leader excitedly anticipates building a Milledgeville life.
“This is the first time we’ve ever been able to plant roots in my military career. The last 15 years my wife and I have lived in 12 different houses. I told her this is the last move we are ever going to make,” he said.
Boylan wouldn’t miss a first formation, though he’s adjusting to the retired role.
His 20-plus years of work stand tall.
“I think what’s nice about this is that there is a passage, but it’s been smooth and the institution remains. I’m proud of this institution and what it does for young people,” Boylan said.
GMC focuses on elevation of character that formation drills like Friday’s instill.
“Are we focused on intellect? Yes we are, but we are also focused on character. The two go together,” the respected former president said.
Boylan said practicing structure and civility builds confidence in a youngster. He truly enjoys the school’s duty to care role.
“People complain about the condition of this country but aren’t instructing children by their example of participating in government. One of the things we do here is teach the young people that they have an obligation as a citizen. I think we do it well,” Boylan said.
W. J. “Bill” Usery Jr. observed the formation ceremony Friday. Usery’s first formation as a student was more than 75 years ago.
As a former GMC cadet, Usery represents the aforementioned obligation, service and civility.
GMC prep school building, which was dedicated on the first formation in 2010, bears Usery’s name. Faculty and staff honored Usery and his wife Fran with a breakfast gathering following the early morning action.
Col. Fred Van Horn of GMC expressed generosity for the Userys’ special service to children that need “extra help.”
“Every time I come to this school I don’t think of rooms or dollars,” Van Horn said. “I think of the friendship you’ve shown me, faculty and staff. We are forever grateful and how much we admire the two of you.”
Usery was honored by the kind words. He said “my heart never left the grounds out here” and called his student contributions something “you go home and you feel good about.”