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An Undefeated Tradition: The 113th Cadet Colonel

Sam Trammell '22

On December 2, 2020, the Corps of Cadets waited with bated breath to see who would be chosen as the 113th Cadet Colonel. Clad in their blouse coats and split into two gyms and the Court, the students knew that this was a ceremony like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the students, the faculty, and the school itself to undergo drastic change, from the restructuring of classrooms to the dividers at the lunch tables. Despite this, however, the emblematic Cadet Colonel ceremony managed to persist.

The promotion of the Cadet Colonel has been a tradition at Saint Thomas Academy since 1907 when Joseph Bouska was named the first Brigade Commander. This custom, now 112-years-old, typically takes place the day before Thanksgiving Break. The ceremony is then succeeded by a reception and the tossing of the newly-christened colonel into the pool, clothes and all. Of course, like many other things in this Pandemic, this year was an exception. Though this year was different, the spirit of the ceremony and the excitement surrounding it were not lost.

2:00, December 2, 2020. Period 5 just ended for the students, and they immediately made their way to lockers, putting on blouse coats, hats, and gloves before filing into their respective gyms with the seniors staying in the court.

The ceremony began at around 2:15, and silence spread throughout the whole school.

After a prayer and opening remarks by the Commandant, it was time for the moment that everybody had been waiting for. Colonel Hetherington began to announce who was promoted to the rank of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel to the tune of snare drums. These cadets were Baker Reding, Nicholas Horst, Jordan Young, Daniel McFadden, Oscar Berg, and Jack Sexton. After the tale of the heroic Richard Fleming was told, the finalists stood at the front of the court in front of hundreds of eagerly awaiting eyes and ears. The tension in the air was tangible.

Then Headmaster Woodard stepped into the center of the Court, Fleming Saber in hand. He looked the Top Six over with a discerning gaze, eyes shifting back and forth watchfully. Finally, when the suspense reached its peak, he handed it to Baker Reding. He was officially the 113th Saint Thomas Academy Cadet Colonel.

After a speech by Reding and a few closing remarks, the Top Six and their families filed into the cafeteria for the reception. Among them were previous Cadet Colonels such as Luke Kolar and Mitch MacDonald. A few pictures and friendly conversations later, a group of seniors surrounded the new Colonel Reding and lifted him onto their shoulders. They marched down the hallway, shouting and chanting all the while until they got to the pool. There, they baptized Reding in the chilly water, clothes and all.

Despite the various trials and tribulations of the past year, the naming and the spirit of the Cadet Colonel has persevered. The Cadet Colonel Ceremony was, is, and will continue to be an incredibly important event uniting the past and present generations of Cadets.