he superintendent, commandant, and staff
remind rising 1st Class leaders each spring of
their new role in setting and upholding the
standards of the Institute and in mentoring
2nd, 3rd, and, most importantly, 4th Class cadets. Each
1st Class cadet is a leader. Indeed, the one leadership
role that most 1st Class cadets share, the mentorship
of the dyke-rat relationship, is the most important. In
this relationship they exercise leadership by example
and demonstrate stress management to cadets
experiencing the rigors of VMI for the first time. Rats
learn VMI standards from the professional cadre, but it
is their dykes who reveal these standards at work in the
day-to-day conduct of the Corps of Cadets.
Reminders for a successful 1st Class year:
A strong, professional Rat Line is at the
very heart of a successful 1st Class year. At VMI, there
is zero tolerance for hazing and Title IX issues. The
leadership is expected to maintain challenging but
The 1st Class communicates the value VMI
places on the Honor Code to the lower classes,
especially the rats, by explaining the weightiness of the
single-sanction code and sharing information on the
sometimes complicated system of infractions.
First Class cadets are urged to finish the four-
year experience with a successful academic showing.
This is the final push to pull it all together.
In demonstrating that VMI standards apply
throughout the Corps, 1st Class privates set a powerful
example for the lower classes.
Members of the cadre should return prepared
to train hard. They are the first to set standards for the
recent high school seniors who walk through the VMI
gates in August. These rats are watching and learning
from cadre at all times.
This is the year in which the Class of 2014 creates a
legacy. Reaching for success in all things will yield
benefits later in life.
Our Charge to the First Class
AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD