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Public Affairs : 2013 December graduation

Remaining Class of 2013 cadets graduate 

Story and photo by Kathy Eastwood
Staff Writer
 
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 8, 2014) — Twenty-two Class of 2013 cadets completed their West Point experience and graduated Dec. 20 at a ceremony in Robinson Auditorium among friends and family.

Retired Lt. Col. Norman Beatty and Lt. Col. Bob Lewsen, graduates from the Class of 1963—the 50-year affiliate class—presented the cadets with their second lieutenant bars.

Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor delivered the commencement address and, along with the Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Richard Clarke, presented the graduates with diplomas.

“Cadets, you must be excited that you have reached today’s benchmark,” Trainor said. “Graduation at West Point at any time of year is a special occasion. This is a significant and proud moment and a fitting end of years of military, academic and physical preparation. I am sure there were times in these past 47—OK, 55 months—that you were not sure this day will come. But you have made it.”

Trainor talked of the struggles some of the cadets, like Class of 2013 Cadet Joseph Sattler, endured and yet persevered in the face of adversity to graduate.

“Joseph, you persevered through five surgeries,” Trainor said. “Those of us who have had surgery before know that the rehabilitation is usually worse than the surgery itself, but to have to rehabilitate five times; how tremendous that after all that, and being told you would never run again, you were able to run the APFT two-mile course in under 13 minutes.”

Sattler’s two brothers, one a Class of 2011 graduate and another currently in the Class of 2015, were with him to help celebrate the milestone.

Trainor also spoke about Class of 2013 Cadet Karina Quezada’s personal journey.

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The remaining members of the Class of 2013 received their diplomas and commissioning bars at Robinson Auditorium on Dec. 20 and performed the traditional hat toss among friends and family.
 
“Karina, I am proud to say that you have a unique and valuable perspective at West Point that no other cadet has,” Trainor said. “You see, Karina completed a deployment while away from West Point for two years. The things you saw and accomplished during your deployment equipped you with success, not only here at West Point, but as a leader in the Army.”

Class of 2013 Cadet T. Chiazo Ezekannagha, a systems engineering major, said graduation was a tremendous weight off his back, although he takes with him one of his fondest memories of West Point.

“What I will remember most being at West Point are the friends and bonds I’ve made through my years here,” he said. “I know those bonds will last forever.”

Ezekannagha branched into Field Artillery and will be heading to Fort Sill, Okla., and then to Fort Benning, Ga.

“It’s just a big relief,” Class of 2013 Cadet Chris Archer, who branched into Air Defense, said.“I came to West Point from another college, so it’s been 5 ½ long years that I’ve been in school.”

Regardless of the reasons for the delay, there was an abundance of pride as these graduates took the oath of office followed by the exhilaration of hearing “Class Dismissed” one last time.