As the morning mist was still rising from Summerall Field, more than 1,000 cadets waited to board buses heading to more than 40 locations across the South Carolina Lowcountry. Their mission: learning to lead by first learning how to serve.
Some of the work was hot.
Some of it was dirty.
But whether it was the more than 50 cadets helping build homes for veterans through Sea Island Habitat for Humanity,
…or the dozens wrestling invasive vines at The Citadel’s neighboring Hampton Park,
…or lined up for review with much smaller cadets, or the many teaching children about heroes at more than 20 elementary schools around Charleston, most agree Leadership Day is one of the best days in the life of a cadet.
“Many of us volunteer at another times of the year, but it is great to get out and get to know people in our community – away from campus,” said Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer. “The volunteer work seems easy when we all do it together and know we are making someone else’s life maybe just a little bit better.”
According to their teachers, Leadership Day is a memorable one for the hundreds of children who learn from the cadets too.
“I want to a hero too. I might be a football player and if that doesn’t happen I’ll be a basketball player, or I’ll be an Army man like my grandfather, or I have a backup plan to be somebody that kind of stands up for other people.” T.S. 3rd grade student at James Simons Elementary
Setting his own example of servant-leadership, the college’s president Gen. Glenn Walters took part, sharing the story of one of his heroes, Pfc. Ralph A Johnson, who was killed during the Vietnam War while saving others.
He also gave sophomore cadets an inspiring send off for their day to be spent leading freshmen.
For seniors, some of Charleston’s most influential business leaders welcome them at their locations for a day of learning, including Blackbaud…
…the Gibbes Museum of Art, and more than ten other locations.
But really, it is the gift the community gives to The Citadel by welcoming cadets, faculty and staff and giving them the chance to learn and to serve that makes the biggest difference.