Riverside senior receives offer to West Point
Alex Smith, a senior at Riverside High School, has received an offer of admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received congressional nominations from the Honorable Marion Berry and Mark Pryor. Alex is the son of Ron and Traci Smith of Lake City, grandson of the late Jim Barber and Carolyn Barber of Lake City, Ernie and Peggy Blair of Jonesboro, and Bill Smith of Jonesboro.
While attending Riverside High School, Alex has been active in FBLA, FCCLA, Beta Club, Quiz Bowl, Rebels With a Cause, and Student Council. He has maintained a 4.025 grade point average on a 4.025 scale. He is an Optimist Club Student of Distinction, a Riverside Student of the Month, and Honor Student. He is also a four-year member of the Riverside Rebel basketball and baseball teams and a one-year member of the Riverside tennis team.
In addition to his academic and athletic endeavors, Alex has been active in his local church, First Baptist Church of Lake City, and has participated in various missions trips. His most recent trip was to Russia where he worked with Buckner Orphan Care International in providing humanitarian aid to orphanages throughout Russia. After completing that trip, he returned home and spoke at school and in churches and assisted in coordinating shoe drives in local sites to gather shoes to be distributed throughout the orphanages.
Every year over 13,000 young men and women initiate applications to the U.S. Military Academy. Of that 13,000, approximately 3,000 receive the essential Congressional nomination required in order for the Academy to consider a potential candidate. As the pool of candidates is narrowed down to 3,000, an estimated 50 percent of those are actually given an offer of admission. The application process is an extensive endeavor that requires a detailed academic history, teacher and high school counselor recommendations, an in depth physical examination which encompasses both dental and visual screenings, physical/athletic examinations which measure a candidates overall strength and speed, and personal essays. To be considered for admission, a candidate must be at least 17 years but not 23 years old on July 1 of the year of admission, be unmarried, and have no legal obligation to support children.
The Academy is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River. It is the oldest continuously occupied military installation in the country. Every year candidates from every state in the country and several foreign countries enter the Academy on Reception Day, "R-Day", in order to begin their four-year journey in one of the nation's most excellent academic facilities, as well as military and physical development programs. Upon graduation from the Academy, each candidate is obligated to complete a minimum of five years of service to the United States Army. The Academy has produced famous leaders throughout its illustrious past. Civil War Generals Grant, Sherman, Lee, and Jackson all attended the Academy. More recently, 34 of the 38 World War I corps and division commanders were graduates. World War II would see 59 out of the 164 graduates reach brigadier general or higher, to include Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, and Patton. In more recent conflicts -- MacArthur and Ridgeway in Korea, Westmoreland and Abrams in Vietnam, and Schwartzkopf in Desert Storm-West Pointers were in command. Academy graduates have also excelled in air and space exploration, and countless others went on from military service to be leaders in medicine, law, business, religion, and sciences.
Upon accepting his offer of admission, Alex will report to the Academy on June 28 to begin Cadet Basic Training, more commonly known as "Beast Barracks" and then begin his academic instruction when the fall semester begins.