Deep Run sending three graduates to West Point
With a 13 percent acceptance rate according to http://www.collegeprowler.com the U,nited States Military Academy at West Point (Army) is one of the most selective colleges in the country. Try telling that to Deep Run High School, which is sending three students – Ricky Black III, Stephen Brooks and Patrick Gardner – from its 2012 graduating class to the prestigious academy.
Brooks and Gardner will be playing together on Army’s baseball team.
“I know baseball helped me get in there, but I wanted to go to a school that was mainly about academics and setting me up for success,” Gardner said, “and West Point is the perfect place to do that.”
Brooks and Gardner have been friends for several years, having played baseball together since before high school, they said. All three students knew each other before, but Brooks and Gardner didn’t talk much with Black until their decisions, they said.
They talk just about every day now, Brooks said.
“Mostly, we talk about the summer boot camp we have to go to,” he said. “They nickname it ‘Beast Barracks,’ which as you can tell, sounds like it’ll be just a heck of a ton of fun.
“A lot of running probably, being in the mud, not showering for a couple weeks, not having any contact with the outside world.”
None of the three have much family background in the military, they said.
“It wasn’t something I heard about growing up,” Black said.
Each has his own unique reasons for the big decision.
Black visited the campus his junior year for a weeklong summer leadership seminar program.
“I really liked everything that they were as far as the physical, the ethics, the mental and decided that was some place I really could see myself,” he said.
Brooks knew he was going to play baseball in college and, though he was talking to some ACC and SEC schools first, started to look at Army after they called him one night, he said.
“I couldn’t really find anything that could match up to what West Point could offer me in regards to academics, ethics, morals [and] the leadership that they preach,” he said.
Gardner really wanted to do something with the military, he said, and felt the baseball team there offered a more family-like feeling than anywhere else he looked.
At 18 years old, all three agreed future employment opportunities were big reasons for their decisions.
“I’m going to have a job when I get out of college,” Brooks said. “We have to serve five years coming out of West Point and so, for those five years, I’ll have a job.”
Gardner added, “A degree from West Point: who’s not going to hire you with that?”
Of course, deciding that they wanted to attend West Point was hardly half the process for an academy known for its strenuous application process.
“First of all, they want to see your transcript, all your grades, SAT scores, other programs you’ve been involved in,” Black said. “But on top of that, you have to be cleared by the Department of Defense Medical Exam Review Board.
“You also have to be physically qualified and do a certain amount of pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, run a mile.”
A student must also apply to a congressman or senator to get congressionally nominated, Black said. Each congressman and senator has 10 slots for high school hopefuls. All three were nominated by Rep. Eric Cantor, with Gardner also receiving nomination from Sen. Mark Warner.
“Even after you’ve been accepted, you still have to get security clearance, still have to keep your medical records up to date,” Black said. “Like I just had my wisdom teeth taken out, and I’m going to have to send them my dental information so that they know nothing’s wrong.”
Despite all these stresses associated with applying for their top college choice, all three managed to have successful senior campaigns in their respective sports.
Black earned 35 wins for Deep Run’s wrestling team, which has won districts every year he’s been in high school, he said.
Brooks and Gardner were part of Deep Run’s first baseball team ever to win the district title outright in the regular season, according to the team’s head coach, Will Hicks.
Finishing 16-2 in the regular season, the Wildcats won the Colonial District Championship before falling, 5-4, to Cosby High School in the Central Region playoffs.
Both Brooks and Gardner pitched for the team, with Brooks also playing third base and Gardner also playing in the outfield.
“They’re team leaders in their own sense,” Hicks said of his two West Point-bound seniors. “One’s more boisterous [Stephen], the other [Patrick] is a leader by example, but they’re both leaders inside and out.”
Henrico's Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of only 20 gardens in North America nominated for USA Today’s “10Best Reader’s Choice” contest for Best Public Garden.
The 20 public gardens nominated are:
• Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
• Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York
• Buthcart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.
• Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. > Read more.
Photo by Patty Kruszewski/Henrico Citizen 02/24/2014
The Fifth Annual Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) Award Banquet, held Feb. 6 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, honored HPAL’s top volunteers and employees, including Morgan Lewis, Youth of the Year; Dale Alexander, Volunteer of the Year; Lowell Thomas, Employee of the Year, and Victor Williams, Board Member of the Year. Also honored for their support were Jim and Christi Dowd of Richmond BMW and Josh Davis of Henrico County Public Schools Pupil Transportation.
Keynote speaker for the banquet was Tim Hightower, a University of Richmond alumnus and former NFL running back. Hightower was introduced by Billy McMullen, former NFL player and a Henrico PAL board member. > Read more.
The Pocahontas Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, based in western Henrico, last year donated more than $1.3 million worth of manufacturers coupons to U.S. military personnel overseas. Throughout 2013, members and friends of the chapter clipped 952,349 manufacturers’ coupons valued at $1,350,630, which Program Chairman Carole Featherston shipped to U.S. military bases abroad. Military personnel can use the coupons when shopping in base stores.
The National Society Daughters of American Colonists is a women’s genealogical and patriotic society whose members are descended from a man or woman who rendered civil or military service in any of the American colonies prior to July 4, 1776. > Read more.
If you’re looking for a date night with someone special, Henrico is the place to be! Check out a classic 90s movie, “My Girl,” at Henrico Theatre; Circa, an innovative circus from Australia, will dazzle at the University of Richmond; and celebrate TGIF at Keagan’s Restaurant where the PJ Bottoms Band is performing. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Abstract paintings of Inge Strack (pictured) are on display through March 9 at the Gumenick Family Gallery at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Strack, a Chestefield painter of German origin, often paints in bold colors with a deep sense of emotion, focusing on brushstrokes, texture and form to find a balance. Strack’s painting is routed in the European tradition of expressionism but has found its own, unique language in following the American dream.
“I am not attempting to abstract the physical world," she said. "I draw my subject matter from inside of myself hoping to create a constant conversation between the viewer and the painting, especially since abstracts do not seem to answer but ask.” > Read more.
Do you play pickleball? Learn more about this oddly-named but fun-to-play sport tomorrow! Though it’s still pretty chilly outside, you can get a jump start on spring at the Richmond Home and Garden Show or at a workshop on raised bed gardening at Lavender Fields Herb Farm. For all our top picks this weekend in Henrico, click here! > Read more.
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