Fishburne Military School marks First Formation of 2016-2017 school year

A trio of milestones marked the First Formation of the 2016-2017 academic year at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro on Wednesday.

The ceremony at FMS marked the first for the new superintendent, retired Navy Capt. Mark E. Black, who was named to the post last week.

Noting the school’s 137-year history, Black said Wednesday he has told staff that “there’s a core understanding in the Corps of Cadets that we are more shepherds than we are directing their efforts or activities.”

“They inherently, based on word of mouth and what’s been passed down from those that have preceded them, they know how to do it. I am thankful and feel very blessed to be associated with this,” said Black, who retired from the Navy in June, and most recently served as Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science at the University of Virginia’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Unit.

The ceremony marked the installation of Luciano M. Dolfi as the battalion commander of the Corps of Cadets. Dolfi, a four-year cadet from Stuarts Draft, Va., called it a “very high honor” to be appointed to uphold the legacy of cadet leadership at Fishburne.

“Being appointed to that position is very honorable, because you’re appointed with the task of this great job, and if you don’t complete it, that’s on you, but if you do great, that’s also on you,” Dolfi said.

Freshman cadet John Lipp was honored during the ceremony as the winner of a scholarship from the New Day USA Foundation. Lipp, a native of Northern Virginia, is the son of Jacqueline Lipp and the late Robert Lipp, an Iraq veteran.

John Lipp is in his second year at FMS, and he said the scholarship award “means that a lot of people believe that I can do the best that I can do, and that they believe that I’m going to go a long way by coming here.”

For his mother, the scholarship reflects “that people appreciate everything that we’ve been through and everything that my husband sacrificed. It also means one less burden for me to worry about in regards to my children’s education. Thirty thousand dollars a year is a lot of money to put out, especially for high school, but I knew it was going to be worth it for him in the long run,” Jacqueline Lipp said.

New Day USA CEO Rob Posner, FMS ’87, was on hand to present the scholarship award.

“There are a lot of sons and daughters of disabled veterans, our fallen heroes, that might not get to college, because of the fact that their family has sacrificed more than any of us can imagine,” Posner said. “So we thought the best way to give back to these families is the children of these veterans and fallen heroes, let’s prepare them with an education to be able to go to college, but also give them a foundation to start their life. Many of these families are incredibly patriotic and want to honor the service of their mother and father. What better way for that family to heal than through a New Day USA scholarship and coming to a school like Fishburne Military School.”

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