Pickerington North graduate Spencer White heads to West Point

NATE ELLIS
nellis@thisweeknews.com
Spencer White, a 2020 graduate of Pickerington High School North, laughs as he receives a buzz haircut during a party July 8. White earned an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, some of the traditions for new cadets have been altered, including the head-shaving ceremony.

An hour or so before Spencer White was set to let friends and family alternately take swipes with trimmers to buzz his head, he couldn’t have been happier.

The party July 8 was to mark the beginning of his mission to serve his country and his departure from home to begin his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in West Point, New York.

“I’ve been interested since I was a child in wanting to go,” said White, a 2020 Pickerington High School North graduate.

“West Point teaches the best officers the country has to offer.

“It’s an honor to represent the state of Ohio and serve my country. This is my dream and I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.”

White is one of just 1,200 high school graduates to be appointed to West Point. They are to begin attending the academy in July.

He was selected for the academy based on a physical fitness test, his high school grades, nominations from U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and acceptance into, as well as completion of, West Point’s Summer Leaders Experience Program.

A multigenerational family history of military service and a dedication to protecting American liberties led White to pursue the academy, and he said he preliminarily hopes to study mechanical or civil engineering after basic training and his first semester.

“I intend to have a long military career, possibly to fly Blackhawk helicopters or go into the Army Corps of Engineers,” White said.

“My family has a really long line of servicemen and women.

“I respect my family members very highly and I wanted to continue that. I also feel it is my duty to protect the liberties of the United States.”

In the COVID-19 coronavirus era, however, not even appointment to West Point is typical.

In addition to basic training being cut from six weeks to four, parents won’t be able to take part in Reception Day, a ceremony that involves cadets reporting to the academy and, among other things, getting their hair cut or their head shaved.

Therefore, White decided to host about 10 friends and family members at his house to take turns with the trimmers.

“I wanted to do something for my parents so they could experience a part of my Reception Day,” he said.

“I want all my friends and family to see that I care about them and I want to make them proud.”

White’s mother, Rebecca, said she and her husband, Brian, already are beaming over their son’s achievements.

She credited her husband for helping to keep Spencer focused on goals, but she said their son took the initiative and worked hard for years to earn the appointment.

“He’s always been a pretty disciplined kid,” Rebecca said. “I’m not sure where that came from.

“When he realized this goal, he went straight for it. To see his work pay off, there’s a lot of pride and joy there.”

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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