Members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets participated in the annual Shadow Day fundraiser on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, raising $8,791 for the Joshua Lilliston Memorial '14 Scholarship. This is the largest amount collected during Shadow Day, exceeding the previous high by more than $4,000.
The Shadow Day event takes place over two days, after freshmen cadets have had the opportunity to bid to shadow various higher-ranking cadets throughout the regiment. The top bidders shadow their upperclassman on the first day to learn about the leadership position they hold. On the second day, the freshmen take over the upperclassmen positions and rank and lead the regiment for the day.
In addition to being a training event for the freshmen class, Shadow Day also raises money for local charities and scholarships. This year the profits of the auction went to the Joshua Lilliston '14 Memorial Scholarship which was created in memory of Cadet Joshua Lilliston, a member of the regimental band the Highty-Tighties, who lost his battle with a rare eye cancer on Oct. 30.
Cadet Maj. John Witte of Charlotte, N.C., a senior majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering who is serving as the Band Company Commander this fall, explains the importance of this event.
“Shadow Day is an incredible experience for the freshmen class," said Witte. "It is an opportunity for them to learn about a leadership position and to have a taste of the life of an upperclassman. It is an activity that I remember vividly and it allowed me to set goals for my cadet career. The bidding for positions usually brings in a great deal of money, but with the funds going to Joshua Lilliston’s scholarship this year, the freshmen didn’t hesitate to open their wallets and contribute even more to the cause. The record numbers this year truly show how much Joshua meant to the Corps of Cadets and the impact that he had on the regiment.”
The Shadow Day event is a Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets tradition dating back more than 50 years. Originally called Turnabout Day, the event was a way to ease the stress of freshmen year in the Corps of Cadets. However, in 1995 this tradition was refocused to become the leader development event it is today.
The regimental commander at that time, Jason Sawyer, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 1996 who earned a degree in finance from the Pamplin College of Business, developed the idea to make Turnabout Day a more educational event. His goal was to give the freshmen a preview of what it is like to be in a leadership position, something they will not experience for themselves until their sophomore year. He got the idea from an experience he had while shadowing a junior officer from the U.S. Air Force during a summer training period. Sawyer believed it was a positive experience and thus instituted Shadow Day.
For those who are interested in donating to the Joshua Lilliston '14 Memorial Scholarship you can mail a check, with 'Lilliston Scholarship' on the memo line, to the Virginia Tech Foundation, Virginia Tech, University Development 0336, Blacksburg, Va., 24061, Attention: VTCC.
- Virginia Tech’s Highty-Tighties perform as musicians, leaders