His favorite courses are those in the humanities, “I’m very into politics, government, history, poetry, those kinds of things,” he says. Jack’s love of government led him to take Kurt Wahlgren’s AP Comparative Government—a study of the governments of six different countries. “I was just fascinating to learn about these different governing systems. Because Mr. Wahlgren has lived in and taught in a number of other countries, he has a very interesting perspective.”
As he delved into life at Shorecrest, Jack was also focused on beginning the process of applying to colleges. After doing a lot of research and speaking with his father, Jack decided his first choice was the United States Military Academy, commonly known as West Point. Jack’s father was a United States Naval Academy graduate, who went on to join the Air Force, but Jack said his father was completely behind his decision to break tradition and join the Army. “My dad was very supportive. When I was researching the different academies, I looked up the curriculum and what I could study at each school and I discovered that the Naval and Air Force academies are both engineering, math, and science focused, whereas at West Point, the curriculum is broader.” As a student very interested in humanities, Jack was excited about the prospect of taking courses in strategy, psychology and warfare.
Once he decided that West Point was his end goal, Jack began the rigorous application process. Each year, over 10,000 candidates begin the application process at West Point, but to be considered for admission at West Point, candidates must receive a nomination from a representative in Congress, a U.S. Senator, or the Vice President of the United States. Only 4,000 of the 10,000 initial candidates are able to obtain these nominations. Of those 4,000 nominated, only 1,200 are admitted into the incoming class. “It was a long and arduous journey!” he says with a nervous laugh. “It was worth it in the end, but it was pretty intense!”
As for that moment when he discovered he’d made it into West Point? Jack smiles, “I’d describe that as one of the best moments of my life! It made me feel like it was all worth it. You’re not sure when you transfer at the end of your sophomore year. You wonder ‘Is this going to hurt me? What if things aren’t better?’ But getting that letter really brought things full circle. I did take the right path. I made the right decisions. I achieved my goal. And when I got that letter, all my Shorecrest teachers and peers celebrated with me--it was a great experience.”
At West Point, Jack is excited to continue expanding his knowledge of government and strategy, by pursuing a major in defense and strategic studies, with a concentration in either counter terrorism or warfare. “Ultimately, I’d love to have a career in special operations—which has been a passion of mine since I was young,” he explains. But Jack hasn’t yet decided if he’s going to serve his five-year commitment and leave the military or be a career military officer. “I could see myself going either way!” he says. “I have a general idea of the things I want to do in life, but I don’t have a set timeline that dictates when I need to do them. I’m more of a ‘what feels right at the time’ kind of guy.”