Two local students heading to West Point in the summer

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
Kyle Werner, a senior at Kennett High School, is preparing to attend West Point this summer along with Unionville High School senior Tom Edwards. (Kyle Werner)

Kyle Werner, a senior at Kennett High School, is preparing to attend West Point this summer along with Unionville High School senior Tom Edwards. (Kyle Werner)

Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Buzz” Aldrin and George Patton all have one thing in common: They each graduated from the prestigious United States Military Academy, otherwise known as West Point.

Thousands of high school students apply each year to the Academy, but only a few are accepted.

It just so happens two from Chester County are among those attending once they graduate this year.

Thomas Edwards, a senior at Unionville High School, and Kyle Werner, a senior from Kennett High School, both set their sights on West Point and hope to be added to the long list of prominent graduates in four years.

“I thought it was a good goal (to go to West Point),” Edwards said. “I wanted to go to college and I also wanted to serve in the military as well. I looked into West Point and I looked into (college) ROTC programs. I tried as hard as I could to succeed and I was fortunate to make it in.”

For Werner, it began with his brother, who was looking to join the military.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“I’ve always had a relative interest in attending one of the service academies and it wasn’t until sophomore year when an Army recruiter came and visited my brother,” he said. “Ever since then, that peaked my interest in the Army and from there on, I did some research and came across West Point and the opportunity of going there and what to do. I fell in love after I visited the place.”

It hasn’t been an easy process for either to become the perfect candidate for West Point.

The Academy looks for more than just your academic standing, but also leaders who are physically fit and have an outstanding character. On top of that, they also need to be nominated by the state’s Congressman or Senator.

Both Edwards and Werner were active in athletics and more in their high school career.

“I work very hard in school,” Edwards said. “I’m a member of the National Honor Society, I’m a Boy Scout, I do track, cross country and swimming and triathlons in my free time and I volunteer in the community.”

Even once the applications were sent in, it was a long, nerve-wracking experience as the wait took half a year.

But once that acceptance letter arrived in the mail for both, all the stress and worry was worth it in the end.

“It was terrifying,” Werner said. “It was a really long process and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get in or not. It’s so competitive and all the kids applying there are so qualified.”

Now that both know their destination, they are preparing for the six weeks of basic training awaiting them July 2 while all their classmates are enjoying summers before heading off to college.

“I’ve been running with my friend for three miles almost every other day or every weekend and over Spring Break, we ran every day,” Werner said. “(I’m) just getting physically fit and mentally preparing for that kind of environment where it’s going to be rough.”

After training, both Werner and Edwards will be sworn into the military and then begin the academics portion of the school.

Both have ideas of what they plan to major in with Edwards pursuing political science and Werner in civil engineering.

After all is said and done and both graduate, Edwards and Werner plan to see what the Army has to offer.

“I see a career in the Army in my future,” Werner said. “I really like the Army’s mission and protecting our country that we live in and this freedom. I see myself staying in it for a while if I can.”

But in the meantime, since the two from rival schools happen to be heading to West Point at the same time and live relatively close, they have decided to get to know each other before taking the plunge.

“I’ve spoken to Thomas a few times so far,” Werner said. “We’re looking to get together and get to know each other really well before we go up in the summer.”

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Categories: Education, Military

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