Words from a past Batallion Commander
Mr. Scarborough, Colonel Risher and Mrs. Risher, Mr. and Mrs. Walters, Colonel Boland and Mrs. Boland, CSM Martain, the distinguished members of the Excalibur Society, friends and alumni of Carlisle Military School, Camden Academy and Camden Military Academy, on behalf of the Corps of Cadets, it is an honor for me to thank you for your unconditional support of CMA.
Four years ago, if you would have told me I would be attending a private military boarding academy, I would have walked away laughing.
I am Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas White from Denver, Colorado. I am the president of the Cadet Honor Council, the president of the Honor Society and the student body president; but my most important duty is serving as the Battalion Commander of Camden Military Academy.
Growing up with wealthy parents, I lacked discipline, and was mischievous, to say the least. Prior to my attending
Camden Military I wasn’t much to be proud of. Since then, I made a vow to myself that for the rest of my life I will do
anything I could to make my parents proud.
During my freshman year of high school I was driving down a dark, dangerous road. I began to let others around me affect my decision-making. My father told me numerous times that those decisions would have a permanent influence on my life. I felt I had all the right answers,
and disregarded him every time he tried to talk to me.
Throughout my freshmanyear, I continued to make choices that altered my life dramatically. Before I knew it, I was skipping class, fighting students, and showing concrete defiance to all authority. I had a 1.8 GPA and had been suspended from school 4 times. One day in the spring, I decided to skip school and go home. Little did I know that the school had called my father, and he was already at home waiting for me. When I walked into the door he said in a calm voice, “Come over here and sit down.” I sat down on the couch and saw a computer screen that showed Camden Military Academy. I thought my life was over. But I had no idea it was really just beginning. He told me, “Nick I am not going to make you go, but you know what you need to do to succeed.’’ I sat and thought about it for a while, then I finally agreed. After I made that decision, I was determined to make something out of my life.
When I arrived at Camden Military Academy on the first day of my sophomore year I met Elijah Kitts, who was the Cadet Battalion Commander for that year. Seeing him standing there in shining brass and infinite confidence, I instantly knew that was how I wanted to be. So I set out to be the best in everything I could. I strived to get A’s on every test and every homework assignment. I tried to always have a clean room and to be PERFECT in formations. I was eventually promoted to Sergeant and was selected as a squad leader. I felt like I was 10 feet tall. Towards the end of my sophomore year CSM Irtenkauf told me he could use me as his company First Sergeant in Bravo Company for the following year. I was so ecstatic I must have gone into his office 10 times a day asking if he needed me to do anything for him. And finally in May of 2009, Elijah read the General Order. 1SGT Bravo Company, White N.D. I was so excited, and just when I thought that day couldn’t get any better, I had received the medal for the highest GPA of all the sophomores. For the first time at CMA I didn’t want to leave.
After a long summer, a much-anticipated year of my life finally arrived -- Junior Year. At first I didn’t realize how much work a First Sergeant actually does in a company; I learned very quickly this was not fun and games -- constantly correcting cadets in formations, inspecting rooms, and taking responsibility for any problem that took place within my company. I can’t think of one day that went by without CSM Irtenkauf calling me into the office and speaking his mind; and did he have a lot on his mind. Finally after a year of countless inspections, sleepless nights, and long days, all the work paid off. Bravo Company had been selected as the Honor Company (the best overall company at CMA that year). I couldn’t have been
happier. But I knew there was still one thing I needed to achieve, and finally on May 23, 2010, I reached the epitome
of my time at CMA. I had been selected as the Battalion Commander for the 2010-2011 school year.
So now I stand here before you -- decorated in shining brass and filled with the confidence I longed for so badly 3 short years ago. Attending Camden Military Academy has truly been the best decision I have ever made. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I have been given the chance to become the best leader possible. I have been accepted into Furman University, which is one of the most prestigious universities on the East Coast. And I owe it all to the people who helped shape me as a person along the way,
Colonel Boland, Lieutenant Colonel Armstrong, CSMIrtenkauf, LTC Heflin, and all the cadets and faculty. But most importantly, I would like to thank my parents. If it wasn’t for them supporting me and believing in me the whole way through, I would not be standing here tonight. So I thank
everyone involved in my development for guiding me through the best, and most valuable
experience of my life.
Editor’s Note: Cadet LTC White was awarded the Douglas MacArthur Award during the awards ceremony to recognize the highest, most outstanding cadet in the Corps. He also received the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. Nick, in turn, presented a new, special built podium from his family, and on behalf of the Class of 2011 to CMA.