“You never know what you will fall in love with.”
This was 2016 CMA graduate Jacob Kanak’s message to prospective students and parents about his Culver experience at Wednesday night’s Culver Near You admissions reception at the Morris Inn. Kanak was the keynote speaker at the event held on the Notre Dame campus.
He told the audience that he originally decided to attend Culver with the hope of focusing on lacrosse, improving his academics, and earning a scholarship to a Division I university. Initially, Kanak thought he would have as little as possible to do with the military leadership system.
He planned to simply “tolerate” the military activities part of the equation, passing boards and doing just enough to get by. But as he prepared for boards, he discovered he enjoyed the bonding process with the rest of his “brothers” who were also going through the process. The six friends still stay in contact today, he said.
As he climbed the ranks of the leadership system, he enjoyed the “huge learning experience” that came with it. Talking with adults over different situations and “leading your peers” are experiences most 17-to-18 year-old seniors don’t have, he explained.
By the time he graduated, he had become the Regimental Commander of the Corps of Cadets along with being named class valedictorian. He was recruited to play lacrosse at the University of Notre Dame, and was awarded a scholarship from the university’s Naval ROTC program.
“It’s not about you,” Kanak said of leading the Corps of Cadets, or any unit. “It’s about the people below you. You have to bring them along.”
Regarding life in the barracks, Kanak said “there is no sense of feeling alone.” He knows a lot of mothers may not want to hear it, but you don’t really get homesick. “Your new cadet brothers really welcome you into the family,” he explained.
The discipline of planning your day and scheduling time to study around classes, other commitments, and lacrosse practices was also learned at Culver. Learning time management is why “so many Culver students have so much success” at college and beyond, he added.
This May, he will graduate from Notre Dame and be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
In addition to Kanak’s keynote address, Head of Schools Doug Bird ’90 gave attendees an overview of the CGA and CMA leadership systems and also spoke about the recent successes at Culver.
Director of Enrollment Management Staci Hundt explained that Culver Academies is now accepting the Standard Application Online and that the application deadline is Jan. 15, 2020. Hundt also invited attendees to register for the Nov. 2 Admissions Open House or schedule a campus visit online.
Director of Summer Schools & Camps Andy Seddelmeyer told the crowd that more than 300 renewal applications were completed for 2020 summer program in the first 24 hours the application had been open. He encouraged new camp families to apply on the first week of November.