A great education is the fountain for any person’s success in life, and it is no different for myself. I have attended two longstanding and well-respected institutions in Virginia that helped shape me into the person that I am today. Both Fishburne Military Academy and Shenandoah University were instrumental in not only expanding my mind but also helping me to expand my horizons as an individual. I am grateful for the experiences that I was offered at both schools, and know that my education will always be behind me in whatever I do.

Fishburne Military Academy

The Fishburne Military Academy is located in Waynesboro, Virginia and serves boys from seventh through twelfth grade. As a small academy of just around 200 students, the attention that each student gets from the teachers is one of the many reasons that it is such a great place to learn. In fact, there are only about eight students to each teacher, meaning I was always able to get the help and support I needed at any time. Personal growth is the main theme when attending Fishburne, and I can say without a doubt that this mission was successful in my life. The lessons learned here went far beyond math and language skills.

The academics at Fishburne were always challenging, although the curriculum is similar to what you would find at any other school. We studied all of the regular subjects, including English, science, history, government, mathematics, and more. What made Fishburne different could be found in the size of the school. At such a small institution, there is no way to just ‘blend in’ and skate by unnoticed. The teachers take a personal interest in each and every cadet at the academy, and I had no choice but to work hard and develop a wide range of skills. One of the things that Fishburne is known for is the 100% acceptance rate that the graduating cadets experience when heading to college. There are few distractions when you are enrolled as a cadet at Fishburne, and for that reason, it is easy to remain focused on studies and make progress toward all of your future goals.

Above all else, the honor and pride that I learned at Fishburne is what I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It is a very structured environment, which can be hard at times for a young person. However, once I adjusted to that way of life and that way of thinking, I was shocked with how well I began to do in school and how much my outlook on life changed in those teenage years. Knowing that I would need the discipline and structure that Fishburne offered to be successful in my adult life, I worked hard to meet the challenges of the academy and graduated proudly in 2005. I was a part of the JROTC and was even honored with the award of Most Improved Cadet. As my high school years fade farther into the past, I will always be thankful for the time I spent at Fishburne.

Shenandoah University

Choosing a university to attend can be a difficult process for some, but I had little trouble settling on Shenandoah University. It was close enough to home, yet provided a beautiful setting and a great opportunity to continue my education in any direction that I chose. I graduated from Shenandoah in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration. Along the way, I had countless memorable experiences and professors who left a mark on my mind and where my life would head.

The Harry F. Byrd School of Business at Shenandoah University is well-respected, and for good reason. The business school offered to me a wide-ranging education that had me feeling prepared to take on any professional challenge that would come my way. The stated goal of the business school is to create ‘leaders in business’, and that is exactly what I envisioned for myself. Having worked in the ‘real world’ for a few years since graduation, I can say with confidence that my education is a big part of everything I do each day.

Beyond my diploma, I was involved in a variety of programs at Shenandoah that would enrich my experience even further. One such group was SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise. This organization is one that helps university students all around the world become more involved with their communities to learn how to make a difference and become better business leaders when they leave school. The goal is to create business people who care not only about the bottom line, but also about the community around them. 

I also participated in the exciting Student Investment Club while enrolled at Shenandoah. This group is tasked with trying to bring in a rate of return greater than that of a diversified portfolio of common stocks while investing within a set of guidelines. This club not only taught me about the stock market and making smart investments, but also how to work in a group and make decisions based on the opinions of many different individuals. By joining groups like the SIC and SIFE, I was able to meet many different people and gain valuable experience that is carried with me today.

It would be great if everyone was fortunate enough to have the educational opportunities that I have had. Learning at both the Fishburne Military Academy and Shenandoah University was a priceless experience that means everything to my future. Wherever adult life will take me, the knowledge that I obtained from those two places is going to be there to help me rise to any challenge.