It was just after a basketball game earlier this month that Wellsville High School junior Paige McDaniel opened her email and found out she had been selected to attend West Point’s Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) in June. She will be one of 1,000 students selected nationwide to attend the camp at the historic military university.
“I’m really excited to go,” she said. “It’s really hard to get into. I have been in touch with the West Point track coach about attending there but it’s a military base so I decided to get into the SLE program to get insight into the life of a cadet and whether or not it’s my thing.”
The week-long camp will let McDaniel live the life of a cadet and give her more information on the college selection process. She will live in the cadet dormitories, eat in the cadet mess hall, and participate in academic, leadership, athletic, and military workshops.
McDaniel has a 4.0 grade point average and competes for the Eagles in cross country, basketball and track.
“It will be a challenge,” she said. “I will basically live there for a week and see what exactly their daily itinerary is. I will wake up and do the same things the students there go through. I’m excited, I like that kind of lifestyle where everything is in order and everything is on a schedule.”
The trip will also be a chance for McDaniel to experience the freedom of a college schedule away from home.
“It’s really scary but at the same time I know it’s going to be good for me and will be a good way to get the full experience before I make the commitment to go there. I don’t want to show up and think, ‘What did I get myself into?’”.
McDaniel will be paying close attention to the science, chemistry and physics classes. She hopes to get accepted into the medical program with the goal of becoming a surgeon.
More than 5,000 juniors nationwide applied to SLE program. All SLE attendees participate in virtual-reality war simulation, and military and physical fitness training, and, in addition, each student selects three of the 15 offered workshops. The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federally funded undergraduate college located 50 miles north of New York City. A preeminent leader development institution, West Point was founded in 1802 as America’s first college of engineering. Since then, West Point has grown in size and stature, but remains committed to the task of producing commissioned leaders of character for America’s Army.