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Teamwork will be a key lesson for Virginia Tech’s newest cadets

July 27, 2017

First-year cadets pick up their nametags from upperclass cadets as part of the check-in process of New Cadet Week.

New Cadet Week
First-year cadets pick up their nametags from upperclass cadets as part of the check-in process of New Cadet Week.

A week of intense training awaits more than 360 first-year cadets who arrive on campus Aug. 19 for New Cadet Week with the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

They will be taught everything from military training — how to salute, to march and perform drill, to wear uniforms properly — to life skills of the inclusive and diverse Hokie community.

But the most important lesson is the value of teamwork.

“As a freshman company, we couldn't execute a perfect column movement without everyone being in sync, we couldn't climb the team wall at the obstacle course without everyone pushing and pulling to heave every last one of us to the top,” said Ben Reilly, of Clayton, North Carolina, a senior majoring in ocean engineering in the College of Engineering with minors in naval engineering and in leadership from the corps’ Rice Center for Leader Development.

“We all had our strengths and our deficiencies, but over the week, and the year, we learned to support the team with our individual strengths so that the team would support us when we were in need,” said Reilly, the fall’s regimental executive officer, the second-highest position a cadet can achieve in the corps.

That lesson remains important today as Reilly prepares for his role in helping first-year cadets through their first week. He and the regimental staff will rely on the teamwork of upperclass cadets in the training cadre, who arrive on campus Aug. 11 to begin preparations for the new cadets.

New Cadet Week ends with a parade marking the acceptance of the new cadets into the corps at 10 a.m. Aug. 26 on the Drillfield. During the parade, the Highty-Tighties, the regimental band, will play, and Skipper, the Corps of Cadets cannon, will be fired when the cadets first enter the Drillfield, at the first note of the national anthem, and the first note of "Tech Triumph."

“My cadre stressed teamwork through my freshman year and how you can’t get through anything on your own. I had a habit of trying to do everything, but I learned that I needed to learn how to depend on others to do their part in the overall mission,” said Highty-Tighty Drum Major Kendall Romaine, of Laurinburg, North Carolina, a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences with minors in Russian area studies and leadership.

“Even going into my fourth year at Virginia Tech and in the band, I’m still learning things, and my past experiences are not enough to get me through my job. I am using practice, preparation, and teamwork to execute the future performances that the band will be taking on this year,” Romaine said.

The parade is a long-standing tradition that began with 132 cadets in October 1872, when all students were cadets and Virginia Tech was known as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.

University President Tim Sands, Laura Sands, and Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo will join the reviewing party during this year’s parade.

If you are an individual with a disability who would like to attend the parade and desire an accommodation, please contact 540-231-6413 or email corpsofcadets@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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