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Public Affairs : Class of 2016 Acceptance Day

Class of 2016 accepted into Corps of Cadets

By Kathy Eastwood
Staff Writer

After six weeks of Cadet Basic Training, the Class of 2016 gathered on The Plain Aug. 18 to take its rightful place with the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day Parade.

Class of 2016 Cadet Valerie Coe of Chatfield, Minn., formerly known as Spc. Valerie Coe, was a medic with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Ga. Coe decided to join the Army while taking a Reserve Officers Training Course in college.

“I am excited to be accepted into the Corps of Cadets on A-Day and at the same time, it’s a new chapter,” Coe said. “It’s kind of strange to know I’m leaving that active duty mentality behind, but at the same time, there are so many new opportunities that are available. It’s an honor to become a part of a tradition that has stretched over 200 years and is such a national treasure. I feel like if there is any place that can help develop a person into the best leader and best Army officer, this is the place to be.”

Coe had already been through basic training once, but found a few differences with CBT.

“We were taught to be a subordinate, to follow, execute any order given and complete the mission,” she said. “Although the first year is about being able to adapt and execute the tasks assigned, they also want you to be a free thinker and to be able to execute and create the most effective plan in order to lead Soldiers someday. CBT was more about building on what experiences and knowledge you have and being understanding of different backgrounds and paths that others have to (help) build on your own knowledge and leadership style without taking away who you are or where you come from.”

Another cadet had a different perspective, as she had her heart set on the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

“I originally applied to the United States Naval Academy during my junior year in high school, but was not accepted,” Class of 2016 Cadet Hannah Tuffy from Scott Township, Pa., said. “After not being accepted, I decided to attend a civilian college and immediately reapplied to the Naval Academy. I had no intention of ever going into the Army or to West Point until I talked to one of my good friends, who is now a fellow cadet.

“He applied to the Naval Academy and West Point and pushed me to put in an application,” she added. “I did and as soon as I began corresponding with the people here, my liaison officer and a woman who was in charge of the local parent’s club, I realized how great West Point was and it became my number one choice for school.”

Tuffy said she began to realize the significance of being accepted into the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day parade practice.

“I feel as though Acceptance Day made the oath we took seven weeks ago a reality,” she said. “West Point is known throughout the world and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I work every day to take full advantage of everything.”

Class of 2016 Cadet Clayton Jaksha came from a military background and liked the values of West Point.

“I came from a Navy family and my grandfather was in the Air Force, so I’ve always been interested in becoming an officer,” Jaksha said. “I function well with a certain amount of structure. I thought it was awesome becoming a cadet. I’m still trying to comprehend it all. It’s like someone sprinkled magic dust on you at the Acceptance Day Parade.”

Jaksha said he expects West Point to give him not only a solid education in academics, but also in ethics and morality.
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​After six weeks of Cadet Basic Training, the Class of 2016 gathered on The Plain Aug. 18 to take its rightful place with the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day Parade.
                            Photo by Kathy Eastwood/USMA PAO