Homecoming is special time of the year for a high school community, especially for a boarding school that is nearly 125 years old. It is a time when people come together in a friendly atmosphere to celebrate the past, present, and future of the community in which they take much pride. The 2016 Homecoming weekend at Randolph-Macon Academy provided its students, alumni, faculty, and staff with such an atmosphere. More than 275 alumni and guests returned to “The Hill” for the festivities.
Beginning Friday morning, alumni from across the country made their way on to the R-MA campus to register for Homecoming weekend and to walk around the grounds they once called home. Later that evening, they ventured to the North Warren Fire Hall for a delicious welcome back dinner catered by Apple House Catering (run by R-MA alumni George McIntrye ’69, Katie (McIntrye) Tewell ’97 and Mac McIntyre ’07) of Linden, VA.
During the dinner, the class of 1988 was recognized for having the highest participation rate in the annual fund giving with an impressive 40.6% participation rate. Eric Anderson ’88 and Mike Starling ’88 accepted the prize on behalf of their class. Accepting the participation certificates were John Stufflebeem for the Class of 1970’s second place 38.9%; Chip Humphrey for the Class of 1966’s third place 24.0%; and John Simar for the Class of 1968’s fourth place 23.2%. The class competition resulted in R-MA’s highest-ever participation in annual fund giving in the 2015-2016 academic year with an overall participation of 9.9%, which is a 20% increase over the previous year.
Dinner guests also enjoyed the musical talents of the quartet of female cadets known as “The Stingers,” guided by Chorus Director Michael DeMato.
The next morning at the Holiday Inn, Brig Gen David C. Wesley, USAF, Retired, hosted the 50th Reunion Class Breakfast for the class of 1966, an annual R-MA tradition for the golden anniversary class. Following the breakfast was another time-honored tradition at R-MA, the annual Memorial Service and Flag Ceremony in Melton Memorial Gymnasium, where the corps of cadets honored those R-MA alumni who gave their lives in service to their country.
Each year, a memorial flag that was flown over the R-MA campus is presented to a member of the R-MA family or a representative. This year, two such flags were presented to the families of deceased members of the R-MA community—two men who had brought honor to their country through their actions. The first flag honored Major George Mitchell Tederick, Sr, United States Army, Retired, who was a member of R-MA’s class of 1950. After his years of service in the Army, he returned to R-MA and served as the commandant of cadets and coached the football and baseball teams. Mrs. Maria Tederick and members of the Tederick family were on hand to accept the flag.
The second flag honored an American who displayed the utmost bravery in the line of duty. Captain Samuel Gilmore Umstot was a chemistry teacher at R-MA from 1963-66. He left R-MA to volunteer in the US Army and became a member of the medical service corps. On September 12, 1968, Captain Umstot lost his life in a fierce battle in Vietnam while providing medical attention to his wounded comrades, despite the advancing line of the Viet Cong. His daughter, Ann Bussey, was on campus to accept the flag.
After they honored the fallen, the R-MA corps of cadets prepared for the annual Homecoming Parade. It was a smashing success and a magnificent display of hard work and discipline with which the R-MA community is so familiar.
With the conclusion of the Homecoming Parade came the Alumni Association Luncheon in Turner Hall. The alumni who were present heard an ingratiating speech by Cadet Major Lucas Costa ’17, who described his family’s travels to the Unites States from Brazil when he was four years old, looking for a better life and struggling to learn English. He saluted the alumni whose donations to the school made it possible for him and many others to attend R-MA. Lucas hopes to earn an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Several alumni were recognized at the luncheon. Walt Boomer ’56 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, George Mathias ’54 received the Byron C. Gayle ’50 Dedicated Service Award, and Kiley Williams ’04 received the Young Alumni Award. Karen Moxie received the Staff Recognition Award for her nearly four decades of service to the Academy. The two class agents recognized for their dedication were Chip Humphrey ’66 and Kelvin Ampofo ’96. In addition, the Alumni Association elected officers for 2016-2017: Scarlett (Praml) Kibler '89 as president, Bo Snitchler '06 as vice president, and Xandi (Xereas-Gonzales) Middleton '05 as secretary/treasurer.
After the luncheon, the R-MA community took a self-guided tour of the campus, visiting class room buildings, heading up to dorm rooms in Sonner-Payne and stopping in at Boggs Chapel. They then gathered at Riddick Field for the most-beloved part of Homecoming: the football game. The Yellow Jackets did not disappoint their fans; they thoroughly handled Massanutten Military Academy 58-6. Nataly Perez ’17 and Lucas Costa ’17 were crowned Homecoming Queen and King, respectively, during halftime.
After the game, many alumni gathered at the Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club for the Alumni Celebration, while others attended the Class of 1966 50th reunion dinner or the Class of 1956 60th reunion dinner.
One can only feel how special a Homecoming weekend is at R-MA by attending. Generations of alumni gather in a place that helped mold them into the people they are today. They share their experiences on the hill with each other and seek to learn something new about their fellow alumni and about their alma mater. They share a bond that cannot be undone and reminisce on a time when they were cadets of Randolph-Macon Academy.
We hope you will plan to attend Homecoming next October when we celebrate the Academy's 125th Anniversary. You can view photos from the weekend courtesy of Misti Walters, our school photographer, on the Academy's photo gallery.