Class of 2019 Plebe Parent Weekend: So Freedom Will Reign
Story and photos by Michelle Eberhart
WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 13, 2016) - West Point parents came from across the globe to visit their U.S. Military Academy Cadets for Plebe Parent Weekend March 11-13.
Freshman class parents had the opportunity to tour the barracks, visit classes, enjoy the Plebe-Parent Weekend Review and attend the Class of 2019 banquet.
“I’m really impressed with West Point, it’s a beautiful campus filled with amazing people with a lot of high ambition, a lot of skill just budding with opportunity,” said Vance Fryer, father to Class of 2019 Cadet Jacob Fryer. “I love the support that they get from the leadership here as well.”
Fryer traveled to West Point from Jakarta, Indonesia for the weekend and flew back on Monday.
“I live internationally … so communication and opportunities to visit are not easy. It takes a lot of time to come over here,” Fryer said.
However, spending time at Grant Hall over a meal and meeting his son’s professors made the trip well worth it.
“I like to see my son succeeding here,” Fryer said. “After having made a very determined effort to get here, to see him succeeding so well, as a parent, it makes me very happy.”
Jacob is equally content.
“It’s really good having my dad here. Like he said, he lives in Jakarta, Indonesia so there’s a lot of distance between us,” he said. “We try to keep in contact by phone or by Facebook, but it’s not the same as seeing each other face to face so I’m really thankful that we have this Plebe Parent Weekend, to show our parents what it’s like here, sort of show things through our own perspective.”
While his father went back to Indonesia, Jacob enjoyed his spring break in Utah with friends and family.
Gasper Gulotta, a Class of 1981 graduate and father to Class of 2019 Cadet Charlie Gulotta, enjoyed his Plebe Parent Weekend as well.
In fact, he enjoyed it a lot better the second time around.
“It’s a lot nicer now as a graduate,” Gulotta said, reminiscing over his own time as a plebe.
Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Gulotta’s wife and then-girlfriend, Joanne, recalls having to eat with him in the mess hall during Thanksgiving holiday and spring break. This time, they can bring their plebe home.
“We are really happy to connect with our son and see his success here, see the facilities and see the support he’s getting from the institution,” Gulotta said. “And we’re really excited about taking him home for spring break, and giving him a chance to unwind for a week before sending him back from Washington State.”
Gulotta says the cadet mindset has changed over the last 35 years.
“He is doing much better than I was doing,” Gulotta said. “I think they are better mentally prepared and so he is actually enjoying himself, which I don’t remember ever doing.”