Science Hill High School student Samantha Bradley wasn’t sure where she would take her studies post-high school.
As her junior year was coming to an end, Bradley began thinking more seriously about her college career and everything was pointing toward the military. Last summer, she decided to apply for the Summer Leaders Seminar held at the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.
“Personally, just growing up everyone’s told me that the military would be perfect for me. Just the discipline and stuff that I have and I’m a very competitive person, but I also like leading. My experience at the summer leadership seminar really helped me to realize that in myself,” she said.
After the weeklong seminar, Bradley knew a career in the military was in her future, so she began the lengthy application process to attend West Point.
The senior Hilltopper was accepted to the prestigious school as one of 1,200 new West Point cadets.
“It’s a huge honor. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around because I think of the generals and presidents that have gone there, and I’m just me. It’s a lot to wrap your mind around, but I’ve worked hard,” Bradley said.
At Science Hill, Bradley has been involved with softball, Spanish Club, acted as a youth ambassador and maintained a 4.0 GPA. She plans on using her time at West Point to study chemical engineering and law.
More than 15,000 students from across the country applied to West Point’s program. The school offers a fully-paid four-year college scholarship, military training and leadership development valued at more than $202,000.
Upon graduating from West Point, Bradley will be appointed to 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army.
Gaining acceptance to the school was not an easy process. It began with applying for a nomination from a member of Congress before she could even move forward in the process.
After writing to members of Congress, Bradley received nominations from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, as well as a vice presidential nomination.
“It’s almost like a college application in itself for each of them and so that took awhile, so I turned it into each of them and I started the interviewing process,” Bradley said.
From start to finish, the application process took a little more than seven months before Bradley found out she had been accepted to West Point.
It was a moment Bradley won’t forget.
“I was just grins the entire way home. When I got home, I cried, and I don’t even cry. That was weird. The process has just been so long and as much work as I’ve put into my studies for so many years, it’s just paying off, so it was a very special moment for me,” she said.