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Public Affairs : Class of 2017 PPW_3

Plebe-Parent Weekend showcases pride, solidarity from Class of '17 

By Class of 2017 Cadet Chandler Cole
Contributing Writer
 
WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 26, 2014) — The majestic structures that create West Point’s ambiance are usually filled to capacity with thousands of bustling cadets, but only a fraction of the Corps remained during Plebe-Parent Weekend March 14-16.

While most students began their spring break by escaping to sunny destinations and beachfront vacations, the plebes of the U.S. Military Academy continued to inhabit the skeleton of their everyday living quarters. The synergy of the barren environment, bleak weather and gray coloration seemed to encompass the stony institution, now resembling a ghost town more than the world’s premier leadership institution.

But then a thunderous “So Others May Dream!” resounded, and the motto filled the fortress of granite housing the Class of 2017 and their guests.

This was their weekend, their class and their opportunity to celebrate. With parents, friends and family there to witness, it was the opportunity for the Class of 2017 to gather in solidarity and showcase their collective identity.

That sentiment is shared among the members of the class, who take pride in their ability to call themselves members of not only the Long Gray Line, but the Class of 2017. Although the peer leadership created a somewhat awkward chain of command structure at first, the plebes quickly adapted, never cracking in their foundation of humility and gratitude.

“Even if at first we were annoyed by some of the leadership, we can all agree that after the banquet we all felt 100 times more grateful to be where we are, surrounded by such amazing individuals,” Cadet Jessica Soto said.

As they got past those initial growing pains, demonstrations, facility tours and instructor visits ensued. The stone backdrop transformed from isolated to regal as loved ones trailed behind their cadet guides, who proudly showcased their day-to-day lives at the academy. Their heads held higher and their posture straightened as if the spirit of West Point traveled through their systems, and left them beaming with pride.

“It’s a time to show the academy to my parents, something I’m really proud of, and bring them around to everything they can only see from the outside,” Cadet William Lutz said.

While West Point has become routine and mundane to plebes, their guests were getting a fresh taste of the environment, and they were awe-struck at the academy’s grandiose exterior and its heart to match.
 
Class of 2017 PPW_7.jpg
The Class of 2017 conducts the pass in review before academy leaders in front of Washington Hall and was flanked on both sides by family members and guests during the Plebe-Parent Weekend Review March 15. 
 
Class of 2017 PPW_8.jpg
Plebe-Parent Weekend for the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2017, March 14-16, allows families to visit West Point and meet with senior leaders at the academy and learn what the plebes have accomplished since they arrived for Reception Day on July 1, 2013, and what’s ahead, such as summer training and choosing an academic major. They tour the campus from classrooms to gymnasium, laboratories to chapel, with the opportunity to ask as many questions possible during the weekend before spring leave. For the plebes, it’s an opportunity to take charge. They have ownership of events like the cadet review and the formal banquet and must perform duties as hosts and representatives of the academy for thousands of visitors. Photo by Mike Strasser/USMA PAO

“It’s mainly for the parents and not just cadets … they do it for their parents to make their parents happy,” Cadet Megan Rogers said.

Academy leaders provided briefings inside a packed theatre and tactical team meetings were conducted for guests to learn more about the Class of 2017 and their futures at West Point.

The Cadet Review marked yet another milestone for the class, where they marched together for the first time without any members of the upperclass, leading their fellow peers and working together to put on a show for their guests. While the parade was meaningful for those involved, they had to overcome some inexperience, as those leading had never led a formation from the front before. 

The weekend concluded with the class banquet featuring Chief Warrant Officer 5 Daniel Jollota as guest speaker.

With the class crest officially unveiled at the banquet, the conviction to live up to the bannered motto crossed the minds and hearts of everyone looking on, and the class had done just that with its weekend together.

“Plebe-Parent Weekend was a chance to reflect and appreciate each other. … For the most part, I feel like we would all do anything to help another one of our classmates out,” Soto said.

(Editor’s Note: The Pointer View staff would like to thank Cadet Chandler Cole who took the time during Plebe-Parent Weekend and spring break to report and write this article.)