Carson High students rank among nation's elite

Andy Stockhoff, 17, knows life at West Point Military Academy in New York won't be easy but he is ready for the challenge.

"It's a little intimidating but I think I'll be able to handle it," said Stockhoff, a senior at Carson High School. "Once I've gotten that far, I'm not going to let myself quit."

If anyone can understand the excitement and anxiety of being accepted and preparing to report to basic training at the prestigious university, Ehren Miller can.

Miller, a 2000 graduate of Carson High just completed his first semester at West Point.

"It was everything I wanted it to be and more," Miller said. "You don't really know the experience until you go through it yourself."

And that's exactly what Stockhoff plans to do.

Basic training will begin either in late June or early July. Stockhoff said he is interested in a career perhaps in the C.I.A. or the Defense Internal Agency or he might make a career out of the military.

"I decided to try for West Point because the education is one of the best you can receive in the world," Stockhoff said. "It opens up so many opportunities."

But one thing Stockhoff is sure of is that once he turns 19, he will take two years off from school to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

"The church is my number one priority," he said. "I've committed to serving a mission my whole life and that is what I am going to do."

He said he has told his plans to school officials and they are supportive.

His family is also supportive of his career plans with a little bit of mixed emotions.

"My dad is more excited than anyone," he said. "My mom is definitely a mom. She's sad to see me go. I mean, she excited for me. She's also scared - she thinks they're going to be mean to me."

They may not be "mean" but it will be a strict atmosphere.

Miller said that he spent the second night at the academy sleeping on the floor because he did not want to have to make his bed perfectly the next day.

Still, he said it is a good experience.

"I wouldn't term it as hard, but I would term it as challenging," Miller said. "You have to think through what you're going to do and how you're going to compose yourself."

He is anxious for Stockhoff to be able to go through the same experiences.

"I'm very excited for him," Miller said. "I know he will do very well. I think the academy is very wise for giving him assurance."

Miller is also an inspiration for Stockhoff.

"I'm excited to go," he said. "I see Ehren and I just can't wait to go."

After completing their education, graduates are required to serve a minimum of five years in the Army.

"I don't want to go to war, like anyone else," Stockhoff said. "I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be scary but I'd do it."

Right now, he's just happy he got accepted - and so is his little brother.

"I think it's cool that he gets to go where he wanted to go," said Corey Stockhoff, 15. "I know how hard it is to get in there."

Miller and Stockhoff had to complete a lengthy application process as well as receive recommendations from at least one U.S. Senator.

Only two applications are accepted from each state each year.

"We try to get someone in a major academy each year," said high school principal Glen Adair. "We're real proud of that and we're real proud of these kids."


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