Scott Blankinship Speach



Scott Blankinship Dedication Speech

 

Memorial Dedication:

Thank you Frank.

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for coming to the dedication of 
this memorial commemorating COL Leslie C. Blankinship, founder and 
first president of Carolina Military Academy and the faculty and staff  of 
CMA who had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many of the 
students there.  The memorial also honors the six CMA students who 
made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country on the 
battlefields of South Viet Nam.

My father always had dreamed of establishing a school with a cadre of 
professional educators capable of working with young students  
dedicated to the goal of  preparing them for a successful life.  He and my 
mother began their careers in education upon graduation from 
Lynchburg College in Virginia in the early 1930s, and they spent the 
rest of their lives dedicated to providing a sound educational foundation 
for young men and women. They followed this dream while working 
throughout  the South, and in late 1961/early 1962 my father coordinated 
on the procurement of the physical plant of Presbyterian Junior College 
(PJC) which had since combined with Flora McDonald College to form 
St Andrews College in Laurinburg. 

In the spring of 1962 my family traveled to Maxton to meet with civic 
leaders of Scotland and Robison Counties for final discussions, and that 
summer we moved to Maxton.   A small number of “cadets to be” 
assembled in Maxton that summer and worked alongside faculty and  
staff members refurbishing campus facilities to get the school ready for 
the incoming class in just a few short months.  

Even before then, my father had set the wheels in motion to recruit 
one of the finest groups of educators, coaches, and staff who, as it turned 
out, would have a significant influence on our lives.  

At the same time, my father and some of the faculty and staff were busy 
recruiting the first corps of cadets; which was very impressive, as they 
had to convince uncertain parents into being willing to send  their sons 
to a new school that had no reputation what-so-ever.  But fifty years ago 
this past September, CMA’s doors opened to some 135 young cadets 
from around this country, all with different expectations, capabilities, 
and levels of confidence;  gifted athletes, accomplished scholars,
overachievers, average students, and some in need of direction to their 
lives.  Almost all went on to graduate and enjoy an accomplished life.

CMA lasted only ten years, and during that time, the faculty and staff 
had an unbelievable influence on some 1200 young men and women 
headed down the path to adulthood.

Time passed by, and 40 years after the first class graduated, Tommy 
LeMacks (’64) of Charleston headed up a drive to hold a first reunion.  
These gatherings have continued now for ten years with several regional 
gatherings in Kentucky and North Carolina.

I think back over the last decade since the first reunion and recall the 
numerous stories alumni have told about the faculty and staff…each 
one a special remembrance. All CMA graduates remember those days 
with a great fondness and how much the nurturing and attention given 
contributed to our success.  I am most thankful we have been able to 
relive those days paying homage to those wonderful people.  

The monument being dedicated today is but a small remembrance of 
these people, yet a lasting reminder of how much they had given  to us.  
It also commemorates six young men who gave up their lives for this 
great nation at such an early age.

Frank, Thank you for your unselfish efforts to design, procure, and 
arrange for the placement of this handsome monument and to Randy 
Jennings and the others (Frank Sossamon, Ed Dunn, Cal 
Humbert, Carl Clark) along with the many contributors responsible for 
the brick surround.  They are impressive.  Both the monument and the 
surround reflect an unending love for and gratitude to those who played 
such an important part in our lives.


Leslie Scott Blankinship