MOUNT VERNON — Jordan Williamson wants to be all that he can be. His goal is to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. This week he will be attending a weeklong summer leadership seminar — hosted by the USMA at West Point — for high school juniors going into their senior year.
“Basically it’s an admissions sort of thing,” said Williamson, the son of Jeff and Mindy Williamson of Glen Road. “It’s a week in the life at the academy. You go through classes, you go through the routine; you wake up at 5:45 in the morning to do physical training. It’s really to give a taste of what it would be like to attend the academy. There’s no commitment if you attend, and you can decide against it if you don’t think it’s right for you.”
The decision to try for the USAM was not a last-minute decision, nor one taken lightly by Williamson or his parents.
“I wanted to go into the military for a long time,” he explained. “And one of the people I played football with [at Mount Vernon High School], Jordan Barry, came here and talked to us. That really planted the seed in my head. From there, it spread, and the more I found out about it, the better it sounded.”
Although the decision came as a surprise, at least at first, to his parents, they support their son wholeheartedly.
“Initially, I was surprised,” said Jordan’s mother, Mindy. “We haven’t had a lot of military experience, at least in my generation. I just assumed he would go to a traditional four-year college. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but once it sank in that this is what he wants to do, I’ve just been behind him 100 percent.”
Although this was something Williamson really wanted to do, he did not leave his parents out of the decision. He talked with them a lot about it, but perhaps more with his father, Jeff.
“It’s been progressive in terms of his interest,” Jeff explained. “I very clearly remember when he came home a couple of years ago from his math class where Jordan Barry had spoken to the class. I clearly remember him coming in the house and saying ‘Oh my gosh, Dad. You can’t believe it.’ He was really excited and it’s just never waned.”
The family paid a visit last fall to West Point and was impressed by the school as well as that part of New York.
“We went there last fall for the Army-Air Force football game,” Jeff said. “When we saw the Hudson Valley, it just made his eyes that much bigger. It did not diminish his resolve at all.”
All of this has given Mindy a new outlook on things.
“This year at the Memorial Day Parade, just seeing the young men and women in ROTC and the veterans, gave me tears in my eyes,” she said. “I thought, that could be Jordan one of these days.”
Williamson is still in the application process and still needs to get at least one nomination from a federal-level senator or representative. He has submitted grades and results from SAT and ACT tests, and as a result, was given the opportunity to attend the SLS as one of 800 invited.
If accepted to West Point, he will not only have his tuition paid, but will get paid himself.
“Once you are there you are part of the military, and you get a monthly paycheck,” he explained. “You have an active rank. You’re in the Army; it’s a full ride. They pay you and provide the clothing you need, and about all you have to take is a toothbrush and underwear. I’m really looking forward to it.”