My Ring Story: working together to build on the legacy of those who came before

Photo: Tyler Mitchell, second from left, with fellow members of The Citadel College Democrats leadership team (Jalen Singleton, Keyshawn Gascey and Ronald “Deuce” Prince) at The South Carolina State House on April 21, 2021

Meet Cadet Tyler Mitchell, Class of 2022

Cadet Tyler Mitchell, from Columbia, SC, is a Political Science major. He serves as president of The Citadel College Democrats and is a member of The Citadel Gospel Choir and The Citadel African American Society.

Q. What quote is inside your ring, and what is its significance?

A. 1 Kings 2:2, “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.”

This scripture pertains to embarking on an odyssey where you have no other option but to press forward when tribulations come along. In doing that, you grow in mind, body and spirit and develop into a more sophisticated person. Never put your faith in feelings because your emotions can change like the weather. You have to control your feelings and allow God to direct you to the right path.

Q. Did you ever envision this moment?

I did. But I knew I had to take care of my responsibilities in the classroom and in the Corps if I wanted to make this moment a reality. If you don’t have a blueprint to coincide with your vision, then it is nothing except a dream. No matter the challenges, I told myself I wasn’t going to quit.

Q. What was the most difficult obstacle that you conquered to earn the ring?

A. In the Fall 2020 semester, I took 19 credits, and had an internship and a work-study job — all while recovering from COVID-19. To motivate myself to push through, I had my pictures that I took with Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from when I went to the debate in Charleston pinned to the bulletin board on my desk in my dorm. That way I got to look at great leaders every morning and know, if I applied my God-given talents to everything I did, that I would soon be in the position they’re in. Wearing the ring is proof that I embraced the challenges before me and made it through the trials and tribulations.

Tyler Mitchell with now-President Joe Biden at The 2020 Presidential Debate at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina on February 25, 2020

Q. Does wearing the ring make you feel like you have special obligations?

A. The obligation I have is to be true to who I am and what God has planned for my life. I want to secure my legacy by building positive engagements with the next generation of Citadel cadets. We must pay it forward as we continue to grow in every aspect of our lives. I want to make sure that important issues are addressed and solutions are provided.

Q. In what way has this institution impacted your life?

A. The Citadel taught me the value of teamwork. In order to accomplish a set goal to benefit everyone, you must be willing to put aside any personal discord you have with a teammate and come to a common understanding. Pride and egos have to be checked, and it requires a sense of humbleness on all accounts.

Q. How will you bring a new meaning to the ring?

A. I am hoping to graduate from The Citadel to continue my leadership development. When I matriculated, I made a promise to myself: that I would build upon the legacy of the first black men who joined the Corps of Cadets and made my attendance possible.

Q. What is your next step after you leave The Citadel?

A. I plan to attend law school, become a JAG in the United States Air Force and be a public servant in the state of South Carolina.

Tyler Mitchell on the first day of his senior year, August 25, 2021

About The Citadel Class of 2022 Ring Stories

Left to right: MSG Olivia Hime, Regimental Public Affairs NCO, and MAJ Samantha Walton, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2022

The Class of 2022 Ring Presentation Ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 1. The stories presented here are the result of the leadership of Regimental Public Affairs officer, Major Samantha Walton, and Regimental Public Affairs Non Commissioned Officer, Cadet Olivia Hime. Both women will also receive their rings and will graduate in May.

Walton, who is from Macon, Georgia, attends The Citadel on an U.S. Army scholarship and will accept a commission to become an officer upon graduating. She is majoring in Political Science and holds the Charles Foster Scholarship.

Hime, who is from Holly Springs, North Carolina, is a junior and a member of The Citadel Honors Program. She is majoring in Biology, has repeatedly earned gold stars and President’s List positions for academic excellence. Hime will graduate in May, a year early, and plans to attend medical school to become a physician.