West Point program provides military training for junior

Junior Lucas Latterall will travel across the country this summer to attend the United States Military Academy Summer Leadership Program at West Point as well as the Naval Academy Summer Program in Annapolis.


Mary Hoyt

Junior Lucas Latterall will attend not one but two US Military camps this summer. He hopes to one day join the military.

Over the summer, many students go to summer camps, where typical activities may include swimming, canoeing, making s’mores, or maybe even archery. Junior Lucas Latterell, however, will attend two less conventional camps this summer: The United States Military Academy Summer Leadership Program at West Point and the Naval Academy Summer Program. These camps, run by the United States Military, teach students about the military and what it is like to be in the military.

The Summer Leadership Program lasts for a week, and it focuses on what it is like to be an officer in the United States Military. Students attending the camp do team building exercises, intramural sports, and even some weapons training.  Students also partake in physical training, such as running, lifting weights, and gun practice in the morning, before heading to classes in the afternoon. The program offers several different subjects to students, and Latterell plans on taking seminars about history, writing, and most importantly, leadership. “My peak goal is to become an officer in the Marine Corps, and it’s very important to be able to lead if you’re an officer, so I thought taking the Leadership Seminar would be very helpful,” Latterell said.

After a week at the Summer Leadership Program, Latterell will visit the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland to attend the Naval Academy Summer Program. At this program, he’ll go sailing in the bay of Annapolis and  tour the base so he can get a good feel for what not only a military base is, but a college campus as well. “It’ll be a good learning experience because I’ll get a real feel for what life on a military base is like,” Latterell said.

To be accepted into these programs is extremely difficult; only about 1,000 people out 6,000 get in. “I feel extremely fortunate that I will be able to attend both camps,” Latterell said. The process for getting into the camps is almost similar to applying for college: applicants are required to compose an essay and fill out the actual West Point application, a questionnaire, and his mother had to give over her parental consent to the Military.

Many students who apply for the camps aspire to be accepted into a Military Academy after high school. The process for getting into a Military Academy is even more difficult than that of applying to either of the camps. To get into a Military Academy, a student needs a nomination from either a representative from their district, a senator from their state, or the Vice President of the United States. However, this prestigious recommendation is only one portion of the entire application. “Even if you get a nomination, there’s still a large chance that you won’t get in,” Latterell said. In fact, the acceptance rate to West Point is only nine percent, and that only includes the people who got a recommendation.

The United States Summer Leadership Program and The Naval Academy Summer Program provide students with a great opportunity to learn about what it’s like to be in the Military and to be a leader. “I’m really excited. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a taste of what the military is like, and I’ll come out encouraged,” Latterell said.