Fishburne Military School inspires next generation amid military personnel shortage

By Noah Harrison

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 7:31 AM EDT|Updated: 43 minutes ago

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) – As the United States military continues to struggle to get an adequate number of recruits, Fishburne Military School is rebranding to inspire the next generation of military personnel.

“We see what’s great in you” is their new motto, and FMS officials say it’s all about finding what makes each cadet unique and developing it, so he can reach his full potential.

For many of the cadets, they have seen that play out during their experience.

Lieutenant Colonel Sean Ross is the Battalion Commander at Fishburne this year. He said prior to attending Fishburne, he wanted to be a lacrosse player but attending FMS changed his perspective.

“Just having the people around you to support you and having all of them say you can make it big in the military or you can make it big as a leader put the idea in my head, maybe I could try to do both,” Ross said.

Like Ross, Private First Class Reyes was also inspired to join the military as a result of going to Fishburne.

“The school actually helped me think about the military,” Reyes said. “[It’s] support you’ll get your whole life. Even after you graduate, you’ll still get buddies and brothers for life.”

Reyes said after he retires from the military, he would consider a career in glass blowing.

Living up to its new motto, other cadets have other future plans but have valued the lessons and experiences Fishburne has offered them.

“It teaches you real-life responsibility. It gets you disciplined and it just sets you up for the real world,” Bryan Tolsam- an aspiring veterinarian- said.

Ross recalled different activities he had participated in that gave him military-like “repelling of the side of the school”, rifle training, and ranger team training, just to name a few.

Another change FMS made this year is adding an art program.

Weaver- a “rook”- said he has enjoyed making drawings, and learning about music and theater.

From the oldest cadets to the newest “rooks”, the mentality that comes with the rebranding is one that promotes inclusivity in many facets.

“Everyone is your brother here,” new rook Green said. “Even if you’re the smallest of the small like me-a rook- you still feel that connection with all the other people.”

“Everyone has a different background,” Ross said. “We all come from different challenges, and the school really tries to implement that everyone has a strong point and a weak point, but together we’re one. We try to look for the good in everyone, and we try to look at the great in everyone.”

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