Destination: West Point
On graduation day this year, the Kings School District will bid farewell to three senior students who will soon begin their career in the United States Armed Forces.
Kings is proud to be sending (pictured left to right) Matt Sannella, Taylor England, and Logan Leahy to the prestigious West Point Military Academy, where they will begin their journey in bravely serving our country.
The West Point Military Academy is located is West Point, NY and focuses on educating, training, and preparing students for a career in the military. Potential students must apply directly to the admissions office at West Point and also receive a nomination from their Congressman or Senator. Every July, about 1,300 cadets enter the school with about 1,000 making it to graduation day four years later. All students will become second lieutenant officers upon graduation day.
In recent years, the high school has sent several students from the senior class to New York every year, a substantial number, considering the difficulty of the application process.
“In the last four years we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of students going to West Point,” said Principal Doug Mader.
Mader credits this increase to a boost in the “intellect and capability of the students as a whole,” adding that he also gives credit to the culture of the high school itself, and the initiative students take to create high expectations for themselves and others.
West Point-bound senior Logan Leahy said these qualities were definitely helpful in the rigorous application process he endured.
“To apply you have to open an application portal, apply and receive a nomination from a Congressman or Senator, and then wait for admissions to evaluate your application,” said Leahy, “but that’s an extremely simplified version.”
How do you know you’re West Point material? Leahy said potential students get reviewed in three categories; academics, leadership, and athletics.
“You have to be a well rounded student to get accepted,” said Leahy.
Kings 2013 graduate Daniel Kurtzahn was very emotional when he found out he was accepted this year on his second try.
“I checked my email and saw that I had a message from my Senator’s office congratulating me on my appointment to West Point,” said the current University of South Dakota freshman. Needless to say, my friends with me thought I had won the lottery. It didn’t seem like it was real, and still almost doesn’t,” said Kurtzahn.
After getting accepted, senior Taylor England is already looking to the future.
“After graduating I want to go into to the infantry, but that isn’t open to girls yet,” said England.
Senior Matt Sannella is also planning his future, which includes a long career in the military.
“I want to be in the military for at least thirty years, and then maybe come back and coach football at the high school,” said Sannella.
With these intelligent, strong, and determined students it’s no wonder that Mader expresses how proud he is of them every day. Mader also said that the fact that the Kings is able to produce three kids who are able to attend this distinguished academy really says something about the high school as a whole.
“It shows that students are always pushing and motivating each other to a point where they can achieve anything.”