COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s no secret that acceptance to West Point, or any of the service academy schools, is highly competitive. Last year, only 10 percent of applicants to The United States Military Academy got accepted – and three of those came from the same school right here in the Columbus area.
“All high school has been dedicated to making sure I reach that point,” said Will Humphrys, a senior at Saint Charles Preparatory School. Will has had his sights set on a life in service for as long as he can remember, and next year, his dream will come true as he heads to West Point.
But he won’t be making the trip to New York alone. Two of his Saint Charles classmates, Andrew Sarff and Caleb Kish, will also be attending West Point. That means out of the 151 graduating seniors from Saint Charles, three are immediately headed to The Academy.
“They’re going to be a big help next year to be able to know somebody and be able to depend on somebody from the start,” said Sarff.
“It’s pretty nuts, to be honest,” said Kish. “We’re just lucky that we got four of us that really have been busting our butts and all wanted to join the military. It’s kinda stars aligned, I guess.”
It’s far from the first time that these three have teamed up. Humphrys and Sarff played lacrosse together at Saint Charles, and then all three young men were on the wrestling team. They pushed each other with athletics through high school, and now they’re ready to do the same thing as cadets.
“I think it’s a really great way to give my life meaning, to kinda be a part of something bigger than myself and a really in a very real way,” said Sarff. “I think the camaraderie between myself and everybody that I would be there with is something that’s going to be really special as well.”
“You have to make sure you know what you’re getting into,” said Humphrys.
“I mean there will be a little bit of familiarity mixed with all the chaos,” said Kish.
That chaos begins right away when the trio heads to New York this summer for basic training, which is affectionally known as “Beast” or “Beast Barracks.”
After being home so much over the last couple months with the pandemic, the future cadets say they’re ready for the challenge.
“I am kinda excited. I want to get out of the house. I enjoy going and crawling through mud and doing that kind of stuff so, I look forward to that but it’s going to be tough,” said Kish.
“I know it’s going to be tough – the first six weeks is how long cadet basic training lasts, but I think that in the end I’m going to be really proud that I accomplished passing through everything,” said Sarff. “It’s going to be a lot of physical and mental stress but I think it’s going to be all worth it in the end.”
Another Saint Charles senior who will eventually join his high school classmates is Declan Cooper. A fellow Cardinal wrestler, Cooper will spend a year at the Georgia Military College as part of a partnership that then leads to West Point.
“Military service has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve always wanted to do something whether it was active duty or reserve and then going from my junior year to senior year is when I really thought hard about the application process,” Cooper explained. “When applying to West Point there’s a large pool and they only accept 1,000 to 1,200 students and the overflow of 40 that they wanted but couldn’t fit into each class, they get the option of picking a prep school and so I picked Georgia and I’ll go there for a year and then I’m guaranteed to be accepted the following year.”
So make that four students from the 2020 Saint Charles graduating class who will be attending and looking to get their degrees from the United States Military Academy.
“It’s a lot of hard work that you go through with a group of other people and you never feel alone throughout the process,” said Cooper.
“I think it’s amazing,” added Humphrys. “It’s something that very rarely happens the guys back there are some of my closest friends. I’m very happy that I can go into an experience like that with people that are of as high caliber and high quality that they are and support me through it.”