To get into the United States Military Academy at West Point, you have to be the best of thousands. Onalaska Senior Victoria Kearns is now one of those chosen few. From the beginning of the months-long application process to actual admission, less than 10% are accepted, some 15,000 apply each year.
“At first, it was definitely a lot of shock,” Kearns said. “It's something that I've worked [toward] for so long.”
Kearns' parents were both in the US Army, her father an alumnus of USMA West Point himself. In eighth grade, she decided on her path while living abroad with her parents in the United Arab Emirates.
“There were a lot of things you couldn't do and it was very controlling,” Kearns said. “It really made me appreciate a lot of the things that I had taken for granted about America.”
Visiting her at Onalaska High School Thursday was West Point junior Sawyer Peterson who, like Kearns, knew what he wanted to do from an early age.
“Even as a little kid, I would always want to play with my army guys,” Peterson said. “I would always try to dress up as an army guy for Halloween. Then after Badger Boys State, I'd actually met with some West Point graduates […] and that's when I really decided that the army is the way I wanted to go.”
Peterson spent the morning with Kearns, answering questions and sharing his experience at the academy so far.
“The whole academy experience is meant and geared to make you ready to be a leader, to be an officer […] right out of college as a 22 year old, to be able to lead between 30 and 40 people and millions of dollars of equipment effectively,” Peterson said.
Kearns says that doesn't phase her.
“It's a stressful environment, but I'm just very excited to see what it's like,” said Kearns.
Sawyer Peterson is a history major, Kearns says she wants to major in chemical engineering.
The United States Military Academy at West Point is the oldest continually occupied military post in America. It was established during the revolutionary war along the Hudson River in New York.