Senior Class President, Shelby Jones Attends West Point Program

“I applied thinking I would not get in, but I did so I was really excited.”

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Shelby Jones simulating the many push ups she had to do at the academy.

Katie Cooper, Staff Reporter

Senior class president and cross-country co-captain, Shelby Jones spent this summer attending a leadership program in West Point, New York, at the prestigious United States Military Academy.

“I have been considering doing ROTC in college and having some sort of military experience later on in my life, and I wanted to see if it would be a place where I would fit in and enjoy being part of that team. That is why I originally applied and I did not think I was going to get in but I did so I was really excited,” Jones said.

This was a one-week program and when Jones arrived she was given a slip of paper, a water bottle, and a lanyard, and was strictly told not to lose these items. She received her uniform and was instructed to look exactly how the sergeants wanted every day.

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Shelby Jones showing off the strength that she used at the US Military Academy.

“We were constantly changing what we were wearing, and just remembering everything and keeping track of all your stuff was difficult,” Jones said.

There were three meals per day eaten family-style in the Mess Hall, where each group sat with their squad. They would bring big tubs of food and then it was your responsibility to pass out all the plates, cups, and utensils. Prior to eating everyone would stand and say “willing and able.”

They trained the whole day, with only an hour of downtime. The sergeants brought the students through combative training workouts, almost like wrestling. There was physical therapy every morning and many core exercises. One day, there was a mile run with their squad and whoever was in the front had the honor of holding the flag. Some days they did the style run where the person in the back runs to the front.

Shelby Jones using the weapon simulation.

Most students woke up around 5:15-5:20 A.M as they were instructed to be on the wall at 5:28 A.M., ready to go. On the last day, they had to be up before 5 A.M. The latest they ever slept until was 5:45 A.M.

“I thought lights out would be earlier because it was a full day and then we had to wake up early. They would come screaming through the halls and playing music to wake you up in the morning. If you were not up you had to get all your stuff together really quick,” Jones said.

“The most interesting activity we did was the simulation weapon and game room with really cool advanced technology. I have never done anything like that before. I think I was at a disadvantage because everyone had played video games before, but it was really fun. We also did a lot of dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and other intramurals,” Jones said.

“This leadership program was definitely worth my time. I made so many friends from all over the country which is really cool and I stay in touch with all of them. It was a great experience that convinced me more to want to go to a service academy,” Jones said.