West Point cadet talks to high school students

Reid Johnson, a Dickinson High School graduate, spoke to the high school students at New England High School about what it is like to be a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Reid Johnson in his West Point cadet uniform after giving a presentation to the students at New England Public School. (Photo by Rachel Bock/The Herald)
Reid Johnson in his West Point cadet uniform after giving a presentation to the students at New England Public School. (Photo by Rachel Bock/The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK
Herald Reporter

Reid Johnson, a Dickinson High School graduate, spoke to the high school students at New England High School about what it is like to be a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Johnson spoke to the students as part of a program called the Cadet Public Relations Council, which allowed him to go back home a couple of days early on during his Thanksgiving break to speak to high schools in his area about West Point.

New England was just one of five stops as he spoke at Dickinson High School, Dickinson Trinity High School, and a Boy Scout Troop in Dickinson, along with Richardton High School, to promote West Point Military Academy.

Johnson talked about what it is like attending West Point, and the traditions of the elite academy. He spoke about his daily routine and how he attends school seven months out of the year along with military training the rest of the year.

During high school, Johnson set out to become a leader and always had an intention to go to the military. His leadership experience included Student Council, and Future Business Leaders of America. He also was the North Dakota Boys State Governor, and attended Boys Nation while in high school.

Johnson started applying to West Point his junior year of high school, and he realized that coming from North Dakota was a huge plus because of the strong work ethic that is instilled in our state, the kind of hard work ethic that West Point looks for.

“I realized coming from North Dakota gives you a really good advantage,” Johnson said. “I think there is a certain work ethic here that blends itself to a military academy and thriving in that environment.”

Johnson, who is a philosophy major has two years left at the academy, enjoys the academic part the school. He also feels that it is very important that leaders at West Point are exposed to all the different academic disciplines that the academy makes you go through, since it forces you to get outside of your comfort zone.

Johnson says his best advice to anyone who is thinking about applying to West Point is to focus on your character, your leadership skills, and your academic success which are some of the main focuses that West Point looks for in their cadets.

“West Point cares a lot about your character. [The] biggest thing to do is focus on being a good person and not having any discipline issues, working hard. Having your teachers seeing you as a leader within the school, and cares about people and legitimately wants to help them,” he said. “Academics are important as well,” Johnson said. “You want to make sure you are preparing for the ACT and SAT. They also want you to stay in shape as well and they measure that through a fitness test.”

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