The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Hockaday community honors veterans


Last Friday, Hockaday convened to thank all members of the community who have themselves served or whose relatives have served in the armed forces. After a brief history of the holiday, Upper School convocations board chair, senior Sara Held, acknowledged over 20 Hockaday individuals who have served in the military.

Here are the stories of just two members of the community whose lives have been impacted by the armed forces.

Andre Stipanovic, Ph.D.

In high school, Upper School Latin teacher Dr. Andre Stipanovic had not yet committed himself to attending college and thus could not bring himself to take out massive loans for a degree he may not even truly have desired.

As a result, Stipanovic turned his attention toward the military, a path that all the men in his family had followed in the past. His ardent desire to attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, motivated him to study harder and work tirelessly toward accomplishing his goal. Although he was not accepted by West Point, a local army recruiter came to his high school to inform him that he could still attempt to attend West Point as an enlisted soldier.

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Convinced to enlist, Stipanovic joined the military just two days after his 18th birthday. Since he had only committed to a two-year term, Stipanovic did not have much choice in his advanced training. Although he wanted to work in military communications due to his love of linguistics, he did not have that option and instead joined the infantry division.

After basic training, Stipanovic moved to Fort Carson in Colorado where he initially had to perform the least-liked duties.

“Like in most places, if you are the new guy, you are kind of given the most difficult chores,” Stipanovic said. “So for the first month I got all the dirtiest chores.”

Though Stipanovic initially felt isolated from his peers on the base, this gave him an opportunity to evaluate his life away from his parents and friends and made him realize his desire to attend college.

Stipanovic later switched from the infantry division to company clerk, a position made famous by Radar in the TV series M.A.S.H. Still interested in attending West Point, Stipanovic received a recommendation from his commanding officer and enrolled in the United States Military Academy Preparatory School before being admitted to West Point.

However, after contemplating this decision, Stipanovic chose to leave West Point to follow a career in academics.

“I realized more and more how much I loved academics, and I was starting to realize that a career in army wouldn’t have allowed me to devote as much time to academics,” Stipanovic said.

While Stipanovic ultimately decided against a career in the armed forces, he grew acquainted with soldiers from around the country, who opened his eyes to the diversity of America.

Utilizing the V.E.A.P., or the Veterans Educational Assistance Program, Stipanovic attended Rutgers University in New Jersey, beginning his career in academia.

Now, Stipanovic enjoys backpacking and leads his children’s Boy Scouts troop.

“Leadership, I didn’t realize how much that rubbed off. All the time in the military, you are either being ordered or ordering someone else to do stuff,” Stipanovic said. “You just have to learn how to deal with people.”

Leon de Oliveira

After two years of college, Upper School science teacher Leon de Oliveira joined the National Guard to help pay for his expenses.

Rather than serving in a combat unit, de Oliveira joined the culinary arts, where he joined a tight knit group of committed service members.

“I tell because that was [how] you always have a hot meal,” de Oliveira said. “It is always warm, and you are never on the front lines, so it is actually one of the best places to be.”

While serving for four years, de Oliveira noted that the soldiers’ favorite meal was always Thanksgiving dinner.

After these four years, de Oliveira returned to college where he simultaneously joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps and worked for the National Guard on the weekends to provide for his living expenses.

As part of the ROTC, de Oliveira helped ferry a groups of marines in a black hawk helicopter. On one notable flight, the captain sat the marines down for the safety training where he told the marines that they could not throw up in his aircraft. He warned that if they had to throw up, they must take off their helmets and use them as buckets. However, he proceeded to fly the helicopter in a way to try to make these marines throw up.

Ultimately, while de Oliveira described his time in the military as a growth experience, he remarked that he was glad he did not enter the armed forces right out of high school. With two years of college under his belt, de Oliveira had more maturity that allowed him to objectively evaluate his life in the military without succumbing to the gung-ho spirit of many young enlistees.

“It was a good part of my life, and when it was over, I just kind of moved on,” de Oliveira said. “I took some of the lessons they taught and moved forward with those.”


A complete list of those related to Hockaday who served in the armed forces:

George Hanlon, Assistant Director of Technology, served in the US Marine Corps from 1985 – 2015.

Kirsten Lindsay-Hudak, Upper School Faculty, served in the US Army from 1992-1997.

Major Jeff M. Brewer, the son of Ms. Nita Brewer, Assistant to the Headmistress, is currently serving in the US Marine Corps.

Christopher Drogin, the son of  Elasa Drogin, residence librarian, served in the U.S. Air Force. Christian Drogin, also the son of Elasa Drogin, served in the U.S. Navy.

Special Agent Will McCoy and Senior Master Sgt Kate McCoy, the son and daughter-in-law of Karyn McCoy, director of safety and security, currently serves in the U.S. Air Force.

Robert Sullivan, the husband of Jessica Kramer, Upper School attendance coordinator, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1977 – 1984.

Charlotte Hoskins, in the technology department, has three children on active duty: Capt. Jeffrey Randolph, Capt. Megan Hoskins ’07 and Lieutenant Alex Hoskins.

Colonel William Boling, father of Blair Lowry, Assistant Head of School served in the United States Air Force from 1964-1993. Lowry’s husband, Mr. David Lowry, served in the British Royal Air Force.

John Zavaleta, Jr. son of Lower School teacher Martha Zavaleta, was a Capt. In the Marine Corp from 1994-1999.

Colonel Milton David Kingcaid, father of Jeri Sutton, Mathematics Department Chair, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 – 1985.

Jim Nadalini, husband of Lower School teacher Shannon Natalini, is a 1992 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served as a Surface Warfare Officer from 1992-1999. Shannon Nadalini’s brother, Stephen Holley, graduated from the USNA in 2000 and served as a SEAL from 2000-2005.

John Cranfill, husband for Upper School English faculty member Dr. Mira Cranfill, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968-1972. Dr. Cranfill’s nephew, Christopher L. Corley, currently serves in the U.S. Air Force.

Veterans Day History

On Nov. 11, 1918, the Allied Nations and Germany agreed to an armistice, or cessation of hostilities, ending the conflict in the Great War, now known as World War I. Starting the following year, Americans have celebrated Armistice Day on Nov. 11 until 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law an amendment to previous legislation changing the title of the national holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to recognize the members of the armed forces in all U.S. military engagements, rather than just World War I.

Mary Orsak – Assistant News Editor

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