Updated 05/11/2012 05:49 PM
First U.S. Military Prep School class to graduate in West Point
The big day has arrived for more than two hundred graduates of the Military Academy Prep School in West Point. YNN's Venise Toussaint tells us what makes this graduation extra special.
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WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The auditorium was filled with proud parents and family members snapping pictures as the United States Military Academy Preparatory School class of 2012 marches to their seats.
“It feels great with all my family here. I haven’t seen them since Christmas break so it’s an accomplishment,” said Tala Heimalala.
The 220 cadet candidates have been looking forward to this day for quite a while. They joined the 12 month math and science intensive program to gain the academic, physical and military skills needed to be granted admission into West Point’s Military Academy.
“It feels great, but now I have to look forward to coming back becoming a new cadet and getting ready for life at West Point,” said graduate Dalton Mendenhall.
When the prep school moved from New Jersey here to West Point, cadet candidates had to attend classes in the midst of construction. They’re the first group to graduate at the new location, making the ceremony here extra special.
“I’m very proud of them. They’ve all done great things here and they’re going to go forward and do great things at West Point.”
The graduates followed a rigorous academic and military schedule, crediting their hard work and determination for making it through.
“It definitely takes commitment and a lot of hard work,” Mendenhall said.
“Keep working for what you want because if you keep working hard enough, hard work does pay off,” added graduate Kelvin Hockenbraugh-White.
Nearly all of the graduates will be entering West Point as freshman in the fall.