Thirty-two young men crossed the stage at Waynesboro’s First Presbyterian Church as the Fishburne Military School Class of 2019 collected their diplomas and prepared to begin the next chapter in their lives. Throughout the festivities of graduation weekend, one word continually echoed across the 140-year-old campus: Brotherhood.

This year’s Valedictorian, Cristopher Zbavitel told his classmates, “You are strong together, you have helped each other reach for greatness … my brothers, you have helped me to become a better leader and a better friend … I can’t wait to see what you guys do next. Roll on, Caissons!”

During the Senior Luncheon on Friday, Salutatorian Jack Koster (Prosper, TX) reminisced in his speech to the families and classmates gathered that “the relationships we have built here are [unlike] those we’ve built anywhere else. I’ll keep these relationships for the rest of my life. I love all of you and, going on to college and beyond, I wish you sound health, good luck and all the best in your future endeavors.”

The sentiment echoed throughout as commencement speaker, Cameron Johnson, offered his advice for success. Johnson, an entrepreneur, investor and author, told the graduating class “Put yourself out there, surround yourself with great people, give back and always do your best.”

Following the commencement exercises, the Corps of Cadets assembled for their annual final formation in school’s Quadrangle. With the seniors forming a single platoon in the center of the barracks’ courtyard, the remaining corps formed in their companies surrounding the seniors and hundreds of family members gathered to watch, Auld Lang Syne echoed from the bricks. Tears began to flow. The school bugler next sounded the old, familiar, Taps as the Corps saluted and the school flags were retired for the session.

Finally, Battalion Commander Thomas Jones issued the Corps’ final orders for the year. “Having completed all military training and academic requirements, the Fishburne Military School Corps of Cadets for the 2018-2019 school year is hereby dismissed.”

As white hats were tossed high into the blue sky, the surrounding crowd of Cadets, family, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters descended upon the new graduates with praise, hugs, kisses and wide smiles.

Having completed their Fishburne Military School careers, members of the Class of 2019 will be attending a variety of colleges and universities including the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Virginia, West Virginia University, the Virginia Military Institute, the University of Tennessee, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and more.

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