Class of 2014 celebrates 100 days until graduation
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 25, 2014) — The next time the Class of 2014 gathers formally it will be in celebration of graduation and commissioning. However, on Feb. 22, the firsties commemorated the time-honored tradition of their final 100 days at the U.S. Military Academy.
At the 100th Night Banquet, Class of 2014 Cadet Jeffrey Ferebee, class president, noted there were actually 94 days remaining and congratulated his classmates on reaching the double-digit milestone.
“While the desire to lead keeps us focused, consider tonight those who’ve worn the uniform before us, and those we follow to accept the torch of leadership,” he said.
Maj. Gen. William Rapp, the Army’s chief legislative liaison, returned to his alma mater to deliver the 100th Night address. The former U.S. Corps of Cadets commandant and first captain for the Class of 1984 last spoke to the class in March 2011.
“I asked you then to stand up for yourselves, I asked you to stand up for your teammates and I asked you to stand up for your future Soldiers,” Rapp said. “Tonight I hope to leave you with one simple message: Strive to live above the common level of life; strive to be extraordinary.”
Rapp said the best example they can set as Army officers is to live the Army values and never sacrifice integrity and respect for others.
“Those seven values ... are timeless, and in time you will, like I did, learn how critical they are for you as a person and an officer in the Army,” Rapp said. “Those values are the bedrock of our military and are what have made our country a shining light on the hill for the rest of the world.”
He advised the class that physical fitness will trump military skills in the eyes of their troops. Rapp said they would not believe how much credibility they will earn by maintaining a high Army Physical Fitness Test score.
“So follow the lead of (Class of 2014 Cadets) Chris Smith and Liz O’Donnell, whose astronomical APFT scores truly set the standard,” Rapp said.
Rapp recognized more firsties who excelled competitively and academically, and others who’ve demonstrated selfless service and personal courage.
“Let me start out with a young man who had the most reason of all of you to take the easy route and just phone it in. Andrew Avelino will be the first amputee to graduate from West Point,” Rapp said. “And because of his indomitable spirit and drive I would love to have him as a lieutenant in my unit.”
Maj. Gen. William Rapp, the Army’s chief legislative liaison, toasts the Class of 2014 after telling the firsties to continue striving for excellence after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy. During his address at the 100th Night Banquet Feb. 22 inside Washington Hall, the former commandant of cadets and Class of 1984 graduate noted many cadets in this class who he considers trailblazers for academic and athletic accomplishments.
Maj. Gen. William Rapp was the guest speaker at the 100th Night Banquet for the Class of 2014 Feb. 22 inside Washington Hall. Rapp is a U.S. Military Academy Class of 1984 graduate and later served in the Department of Social Sciences and as the 72nd commandant of cadets.
"The Class of 2014 has blazed a memorable trail through these past fours."
—Maj. Gen. William Rapp
72nd Commandant of Cadets
He noted the class scholars—Cadets Erin Mauldin and Calla Glavin, who earned Rhodes scholarships; Cadets Alex Brammer and Ahmad Nasir as Marshall scholars; and Cadets Luke Schumacher and Robert Fetters as Rotary scholars.
He cited the achievement of Cadet Danielle Cummings, who nearly earned a maximum score on the Medical College Admission Test and will attend John Hopkins Medical School.
“Excellence is alive and well in athletics also,” he said. “Ian Macpherson, a track and field regimental commander; Breawna Davis, a springboard phenomenon; Kip Webber, all-around champion gymnast; Connor Love, a baseball catcher who found time for Toys for Tots; Kelly Kingma, an Ironman Hawaii finisher; Josh Herbeck, killing it from the three-point line ... and so many other Corps squad and club squad athletes who have proudly and successfully worn your colors in competitions.”
While emphasizing the importance of further training and education, Rapp applauded the firsties who achieved such certification and graduation from programs such as Ranger School, the Combat Dive course and Special Forces Assessment and Selection while at West Point.
“The Class of 2014 has blazed a memorable trail through these past four years,” Rapp said. “The question remains, how will you blaze that path ahead?”
Following the banquet, cadets, guests and senior leaders were entertained at Eisenhower Hall Theatre with the 100th Night Show, which featured a surprise cameo from Stanford University football player John Flacco, who endeared himself to the Corps when he joined them in a Rocket cheer during an Army Football game.