One special Harrison senior will be attending a prestigious college almost 800 miles away next year.
Sophia Hein was accepted to attend the United States Military Academy, or West Point.
Hein is well-known throughout the school, having been the drum major for the marching band and the president of National Honor Society.
Her route to West Point started over a year ago, when she applied for the academy’s Summer Leadership Experience.
The SLE is open to high school juniors and allows them to experience life as a cadet for a week.
The program takes place in June and includes academic classes, military training, physical fitness training, and intramural athletics.
Hein’s time at West Point over the summer largely influenced her college decision.
“I want to go to West Point because of how the school incorporates academics, athletics and physical fitness, and the commitment to the military and the United States,” said Hein. “I believe that the standards that the Army and the Academy represent are the same standards that I try to uphold.”
According to the academy’s website, “it takes more than excellent grades to be accepted for admission. West Point wants leaders who are not only intelligent, but those who are physically fit and of outstanding character.”
Not only that, but applicants must pass fitness and medical tests, as well as having a member of Congress nominate them.
To receive a nomination, Hein completed a written application and then was chosen by a committee of the Congress member for an interview.
She interviewed with the offices of Senator Dan Coats, Senator Joe Donnelly, and Representative Todd Rokita.
Hein says the interviewers ranged from average citizens, West Point graduates, and current military officers, and the questions were mostly about why she wanted to attend West Point, what made her a better choice than other applicants, how her activities had prepared her for life and the military, and some situational questions related to the West Point honor code and morals.
Hein received a Letter of Assurance in September of 2016, which guaranteed her an offer of admittance for the Class of 2021.
“I was certainly nervous before each interview, but I think knowing that I had a Letter of Assurance already and also the help that Mrs. Greeley and my parents gave me to prepare for answering questions helped me be more confident,” says Hein.
Hein received nominations from both Senator Coats and Representative Rokita.
“When I first started the process, it seemed very daunting but looking back on it, there are much harder things to accomplish,” said Hein. “I think I got very lucky to have grown up with parents who have encouraged me to work hard and challenge myself.”
Hein plans to study chemistry at West Point, with the hopes of going to medical school and becoming an Army doctor.