Published in the Siskiyou Daily News on June 11th
To view the original article, click HERE.
On June 26, Yreka High School senior Kevin Williams will board a plane for New York as one of a very select few who will walk the hallowed halls of West Point Military Academy as cadets.
Established in 1802 under President Thomas Jefferson, the academy has graduated some of American historyâ€™s most famous â€“ Douglas MacArthur, George Patton and Edwin â€œBuzzâ€â€ˆAldrin.
In order to join the ranks of such historical icons, Williams has spent much of his high school career mentally and physically preparing for what lies ahead.
He told the Siskiyou Daily News on Wednesday that he has always been interested in attending a top-notch university, and a growing desire to join the Army spurred him toward West Point.
The arduous journey to acceptance began his sophomore year when he was building on his cross-country training with a regimen of physical improvement, along with an effort to maintain high academic achievement.
Williams attended two week-long trainings for candidates during the past two years, one of which included physical fitness training with Navy SEALS.
Beyond the classroom and the gym, he also had to obtain a nomination from Congressman Doug LaMalfa before he could complete his application to the academy.
The hard work and dedication paid off in April, when he became one of only approximately 1,300 students nationwide to receive an acceptance letter.
â€œI was very excited,â€â€ˆhe said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to the adventure and the experience.â€
Williams provided an overview of what his time at the academy will look like, including intense physical and leadership training aimed at producing officers, coupled with a normal college curriculum.
He said that his main focus will be on defense and strategic studies, which he said is the most intensive military curriculum offered at the school.
In addition, Williams said he hopes to study either an Arabic or Russian language, and he plans on joining the academyâ€™s parachute team to earn his wings.
All combined, he hopes that his training and chosen course of study will help him achieve the coveted Green Beret status and serve in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
For Williams, the personal effort has been bolstered by those around him. He said that his parents have been very supportive, and he also expressed a great deal of gratitude for YHSâ€ˆteachers, whom he said were critical to his success.
Williams said that cross country coach Pam Borg was â€œincredibly importantâ€â€ˆduring the admissions process. â€œWithout her, I wouldnâ€™t have gotten in,â€â€ˆhe said.
He added that teacher Garren Whitehouse had set a great example for him to follow on his journey to the academy.