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  • Clavis Gilbert and his dad visited West Point in November 2015.
    Clavis Gilbert and his dad visited West Point in November 2015.

Chesapeake High School Graduate Prepares For West Point

Gracie Fairfax
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July 12, 2017

 Like many recent Chesapeake High School graduates, Clavis Gilbert is preparing for college. But college for Gilbert will include a bit more structure as he prepares to attend the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, on the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The preparatory school admits about 100 carefully selected students each year who meet most of the qualifications for West Point but lack in one area of their application.

“They take you there for a year and they pretty much set you up for a life at West Point, and they make you better in everything that you were good in and everything and what you weren’t as good in and they just make you a better cadet for West Point,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert has always had an interest in the military as his father has been in the military for about 20 years, and he had a great-aunt and a cousin in the Army, but it wasn’t until his freshman year of high school that he first heard of service academies. He attended an admissions briefing when he was living in Oklahoma with his mother. He decided he wanted to do everything he could to increase his chances of acceptance to West Point – even if that meant starting over by moving across the country to attend a better school and live with his dad in Maryland. At the time, he had never lived on the East Coast.

So on Easter of his freshman year of high school in 2014, Gilbert made the decision to move to Maryland. He left Oklahoma on July 8, 2014 and started his sophomore year at Chesapeake High School, where he played basketball and football and ran track.

“That was probably the biggest decision I’ve made so far in my life,” Gilbert said.

Once he applied, a season of checking the mailbox regularly began.

“One day, I looked in there and I saw the big envelope. … I just stared at the envelope for a while and then I read the words. It was such a long process, but to see finally my dream came true – it was just astonishing.”

As Reception Day approaches on July 17, Gilbert is looking forward to how the Army will shape him.

“Everybody I’ve talked to in the Army – who’s been to West Point or hasn’t been to West Point – they say that the Army changes you into a better person,” Gilbert said, “or just changes you in a way you didn’t think you could be changed and that’s what I’m most excited for – to see what my future holds and how I’m going to change.”

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