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Academic Letters Awards

You probably already know about athletic “letters” worn on jackets. But, did you know West Point cadets can earn academic “letters” in a variety of ways? At West Point, our cadets wear their achievements – physical, academic, and military – on their chests. Check it out.

The way that I view West Point, it's just a college campus, a regular college campus. And you just wear uniforms. Yes, you drill, and you have these other things, but there's still the same kind of like student life here.

We have gospel choir. We have football players. Some of the academic clubs our debate team, model UN, chess club.

And each member on the team, we get a patch that we can wear on our jacket. And those are called academic letters. You can earn different kinds of colored stars. The stars represent the team that you beat.

For winning against Navy, we win the gold star. For Air Force it's the silver star.

For the Coast Guard Academy it's the blue star. And then for the Royal Military Academy of Canada, it's the gold maple leaf. For us, it means more than just a patch on our jacket. It means that all of our practicing, our tactics, and strategy has really paid off.

I think the biggest takeaway from debate and how I can use it after graduating West Point is it's a people profession. So if you can't talk to people, it's going to be very difficult for you to lead them. And I feel like that's the biggest thing that I've gotten from debate, a way to articulate and communicate with people of different diverse backgrounds.

Strategic thinking and the strategy that goes into a game really challenges you mentally. And looking ahead as a future officer, that means so much, because it's that type of critical decision-making that's going to make these cadets, my team members, successful in their future.

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