White Knoll graduate heading to U.S. Army Academy at West Point, will join brother as a cadet

Lexington County, SC – 04/26/2021 (Paul Kirby) – White Knoll graduate Nathan Norris is about to fulfill a dream he’s had for some time. He has been accepted at West Point, the U.S. Army’s Academy north of New York City along the Hudson River.

For years now, Nathan admired so much about the Academy. “I think that the Honor Code, a code that says a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do, is a big part of why I wanted to go to college there. They don’t just teach you to be a soldier and a man, they teach you to be a great soldier and a great man,” Nathan said recently. He also pointed out the level of education he will have received when he’s handed his diploma will be one of the best in the world. “I will have received a great education and be commissioned into the Army. From there, I will still have a lot to learn but more importantly, I will have a solid foundation to build on.

When Nathan reports to the Academy in early summer of 2021, he won’t be the only Norris attending school in New York state. Nathan’s older brother Michael, also a graduate of White Knoll, is already a cadet at West Point and on track to graduate in 2023. “When Michael was accepted and I had the chance to visit him on campus, it only made me want to be there even more,” Nathan concluded. He also attended a summer leadership program at the Academy that made him realize going to West Point was defiantly the right thing for him.

Nathan said that in his 9th grade year in high school, he really began to think about going to school at West Point. He had good grades and had run some track and knew exactly where he’d wanted to go to school and do after graduation. “It takes a lot of focus all the way through high school,” Nathan continued. “They only take the best and I knew that when I graduated White Knoll, I’d have to be prepared. My grades had to be high, and you need a solid educational foundation and good character to be accepted.”

Candidates for cadet apply and then seek nominations. Those can come from several people. U.S. Senators, members of Congress, and the president and vice president can make nominations. Preference is given to children of Medal of Honor Awardees, children of disable vets, and others with strong heritages connected to serving.

One of the nominations that Nathan received was from US Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-2). When Congressman Wilson was asked about nominating Nathan Wilson said, “I was grateful to nominate Nathan Norris, a graduate of White Knoll High School in Lexington, to West Point. I wish him the very best as he follows his brother, Michael to this distinguished military academy. I know the Norris brothers will represent Lexington County well as they go from West Point on to serve our country in the U.S. Army.”

In 2020, the pandemic year, Nathan received his high school diploma. He’d maintained an A/B average throughout school, participated in extracurricular activities, and worked on community service projects. He was also physically fit and mentally prepared. That year, he applied to West Point but was told by admission that he would need to wait until 2021. They suggested he take some basic college level courses and they would include him in the class beginning this summer. He enrolled at Midlands Technical College for a semester but all that’s behind him now. The time to report to West Point is drawing near. “I’m excited but a little nervous too,” Nathan said recently when asked how he felt about reporting to the Academy.

According to West Point’s website, upon graduation, cadets will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. They must serve a minimum of eight years after graduate in a combination of Active Duty and Reserve Component Service. During their senior year, cadets find out which specialized field, or “branch,” they will enter. They still go on to complete Officer Candidate School (OCS) for more training before they are assigned to a command.

Some of the U.S. Army’s most well-known generals and industry leaders are graduates of West Point. They include men like Generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, George Patton, William Tecumseh Sherman, and former President and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Dwight D. Eisenhower and a host of others. Once the Norris brothers graduate and receive their commissions, they will also have an opportunity to excel and become a part of the greatest military in the world.

At this point, Nathan is working to stay physical fit and mentally prepared for the day he is to report. Although he knows this will be a challenge, he feels it’s something he was born to do.

PHOTO CAPTION: L to R - Nathan Norris, Michael Norris

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