Senior accepted at military academy


Meg Lane/Staff Writer

It is that time of the year again. Seniors eagerly await decisions from the colleges of their choice, but for senior Alex Clopton, the wait is over.
Clopton was recently accepted the United States Military Academy, more commonly known as West Point.

The good news came to Clopton on Oct. 24. Clopton’s mom called him and told him he had a rather important looking package in the mail from West Point, so he came home to find a leather bound booklet with his acceptance letter inside.

Clopton was shocked and excited. “I am very honored and excited to receive an appointment because it has been a goal that I have worked hard for throughout high school. I am very grateful that all my hard work has paid off,” he said.

Clopton’s Senior Army Instructor from his JROTC program also shared the same reaction.

“Alex Clopton’s acceptance to the United States Military Academy (West Point) is wonderful news. West Point is the number one university in the nation, and the premier Service Academy,” Ret. LTC Leonard Stephens said.

And for Clopton this definitely was a major victory. The process to get into West Point had been a rigorous one. Clopton had to get nominations from Sen. Tom Harkin, Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Bruce Braley. He also got a nomination from Stephens. Along with his nominations, Clopton had to pass a Candidate Fitness Assessment and then complete the DoDMRERB or the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board physical exam.

The acceptance rate to get into West Point is around 9 percent. They get close to 16,000 applicants a year, and only a 1,000 or so will be accepted.
Clopton also pointed out that only 20 JROTC and ROTC nominations nationwide would be accepted, so his shock is pretty normal.

So what will Clopton be learning and what opportunities will this open for him?

Stephens said, “Alex will receive a world-class education and a clear headed-start in his Army career. He will be taught by some of the best officers in the U.S. Army and by prominent civilian professors. During the summers he will have the chance for Airborne or Air Assault schools.”
Clopton also said that upon his graduation he will receive a bachelor’s of science degree. For this, Clopton has been considering majoring in business administration or environmental science.

He added also that he will be learning extensive leadership skills and what it truly takes to be an officer in the Army.

And from there the opportunities will become endless for Clopton. He will be eligible for commission as an officer in the United States Army and also receive a free education from one of the premier colleges in the nation.

“In Army JROTC, Alex has made important advances in his personal style of leadership. In the Army the most successful officers have a comfortable knowledge of their personal competence. This translates into a relaxed, competent officer who is sure of himself and his mission. Army JROTC gave Alex the opportunity to enhance his leadership while in high school. I believe Alex has a good base for advanced leadership training at West Point,” Stephens said.

Clopton also said that after West Point, he will be serving his obligated active duty service for five years and then reserve duty for three.

He said that he plans to be a infantry officer while serving and also to obtain a master’s degree, which the Army will pay for.
With all of these plans, Clopton believes that he can credit most of his success to the support and encouragement that his teachers and family gave him.

“I would attribute my appointment to my parents who helped me so much during the application process, to everyone who was kind enough to take the time to write me a letter of recommendation, to all my teachers and coaches, to my JROTC instructors Lieutenant Colonel Stephens and Master Sergeant Ledbetter, and to my brother for encouraging me throughout the process,” Clopton said.

West Point had been Clopton’s goal since he was a freshman, and he added that if other students are interested in or curious about West Point and want to learn more, they should go to The site offers requirements for applying as well as background information about the school and the education it offers.

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