When Will Longacher made the decision to attend Virginia Military Institute (VMI), their slogan, “Don’t Do Ordinary,” stood out to him. It appealed to his desire to lead and to serve. As I think about Will’s time at Cape Henry Collegiate, I understand why he appreciates VMI’s slogan. After all, Will has taken advantage of many of the opportunities available here. He has led. He has served. Thus, he has already started to live that slogan.
Will joined the Cape Henry community in 3rd grade and he remembers already wanting to serve in the military. A lot of that desire came from his grandfather who talked about the value of the military. As he has grown up, Will has come to respect the comradery of the military and to realize his strong interest in serving others. A desire to serve is easy to recognize in Will. After all, he is our Co-Student Government President in the Upper School. His commitment to leadership is also reflected in his participation in our Outdoor Leadership series. Whether trekking the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Cape Henry’s Nexus Program or hiking a hundred miles through Alaska with his CHC classmate Robert Campbell (who is headed to UVA next year), Will loves a challenge. On his Nexus trip to Panama, he remembers horseback riding and hiking up a mountain for several nights of camping. He recalls, “It was one of the times I was most out of my comfort zone and I loved it.”
He also accepts academic challenges. He holds a great deal of respect for Mr. Rogers and remembers being “pushed” in Physics class. In one comment about the class, you see Will’s humility and humor. He said, “I don’t know if I stood out to him, but Mr. Rogers stood out to me.” He will graduate with the additional distinction as one of our Global Scholars and he looks forward to being challenged as he studies business and economics at VMI.
Will appreciates our Nexus Program and his trips to Dominica, Idaho, Panama and Mount Washington. He considers himself fortunate to have been on our State Championship Soccer Team. He talks about the importance of our community and how he values relationships with teachers, friends and friends’ parents. His advice to Cape Henry students is to “make your connections with teachers and friends and they will support you.”
When Will reflects on his Cape Henry experience, he also remembers a mistake during his 8th grade year (my first year as Head of School). The mistake resulted in a serious disciplinary consequence. Yet, to me, how Will responded to that mistake is what stands out. First, it served as a “wake up” call and he will tell you that he has been different ever since it happened. He grew up! Second, he returned from that mistake and immediately took a risk and pursued a leadership opportunity. He wrote an essay in order to be selected to represent his class and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier… and he got it! He had gone from being “in trouble” to being chosen by the faculty to participate in one of our country’s most impressive ceremonies - honoring service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in service to our nation. That’s quite an about face. To me, it represents a young man who “isn’t going to do ordinary!”