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...just don't question their support for our troops

In Wrentham, Massachusetts, King Philip High School has achieved a singular honor. Two -- two! -- of its graduating seniors, Jeffrey Chin of Plainville and William Small of Norfolk have both been accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. And as is their tradition, West Point intended to formally accept the two at the school's awards ceremony.

Unfortunately, the Superintendant of Schools didn't agree. According to reports, the school only allows local groups who offer scholarships to make presentations at the awards banquets. Schools that offer scholarships are not invited, and not welcome to attend.

I can almost understand this policy. These ceremonies tend to drag on and on and on and on. Setting some kinds of limits makes a bit of sense, and limiting it to just local groups who offer scholarships has a certain logic to it. But I think I can make an argument for excluding the various military academies.

1) The cadets of the academy receive free tuition. In essence, they all receive full scholarships from the United States government. And since the government has no money of its own, this means that every single taxpayer in the United States contributes to their college education. Therefore, every single taxpayer in the school district is paying the tuition bills for Mr. Chin and Mr. Small, making it a "local" scholarship.

2) The scholarships are hardly free. Upon graduation, every single officer has to start paying that debt back by serving a minimum of five years in the Army. In that sense, it's quite possibly the most expensive education in the world, as I can't think of any other college program that requires the student to give back five years of their lives in exchange for four years of education -- and with the understanding that the payback may very well cost them their lives.

3) For god's sake, it's WEST POINT. The four service academies -- the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, are NOT LIKE any other colleges in the United States. To lump them into the same category as regular colleges and universities is patently absurd.

The decision by the school superintendant, Richard Robbat, is under terrific public pressure. Talk radio hosts are giving out his number and urging people to call. Members of Congress (including, astonishingly, Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas) have expressed their disapproval. Parents and officials are howling in outrage. And State Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) (A major in the Massachusetts National Guard and father of "American Idol" contestant Ayla Brown) has said that he will NOT present a scholarship at the gathering as planned, but will at another venue.

I hope that this gets settled soon. As a matter of principle, this is a huge fight, and needs to be settled. But in the meantime, there are two very worthy young men who find themselves embarrassed to be at the center of all this fuss.

Hold strong, Mr. Chin and Mr. Small. This will pass, and will most likely be a very minor footnote in what promise to be two noble careers. Whatever happens or does not happen at this one small-town ceremony will matter little in the long run.


Comments (15)

Hmmm.I'll also add... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I'll also add that few institutions of higher education requires their students to conform to very high and rigid standards. It's not like you can let your hair grow long, wear beard stubble and start acting like a hippie.

Frankly I don't understand the wierd revulsion some on the left have for the military. 99% of military life is cleaning. I used to joke with my father that USMC really stood for Uncle Sam's Mop & Cleaning service because I spent so much scrubbing floors. And then once I got promoted I spent even more time supervising the scrubbing of floors. :)

Their school, their call. <... (Below threshold)

Their school, their call.

Up to the parents and the administration, actually. The school should not allow itself to be influenced by anyone else.

Oh, I expect that if this w... (Below threshold)
cmd:

Oh, I expect that if this weasel ever makes a statement, he'll tell you he's proud of the students, even if they are just babies brainwashed by the recruiters. And I'm sure he'd tell you he "supports the troops, but not their mission." Or their commander. Or their unilateral action. And anyway, Haditha shows they're all a bunch of killbots anyway. And why are you questioning my patriotism? Don't you know all the polls show nobody except Bushbot dittoheads support your oil war?!?!?!
/moonbat off

Isn't there a search engine out there that tells you who contributes money to a political campaign? Ten to one the superintendant's a Kerry donor.

We had a kid go to the nava... (Below threshold)
Wickedpinto:

We had a kid go to the naval academy the year before I left highschool. Everyone was proud, and kids who weren't graduating, who didn't have relatives graduating, went to the commencement to see our guy go to the naval academy. It wasn't like he got a football scholarship, He had to bust his but not just in school, but in make the contacts, and in making the application preparations. The navy didn't hunt him down and say "Please Join?! you'll make millions after you graduate" He worked for it, and it was a ceremony and "scholarship" he earned completely by his own efforts.

Thats a GOOD THING for a school.

Too bad. But disappointment... (Below threshold)
K:

Too bad. But disappointment is not trauma.

And if you can't let local officals make any decisions then those decisions will be made at higher levels by people far less concerned about you.

"...Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas).... (Below threshold)

"...Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas)..."

Heh...nice one!

As a graduate of West Point... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

As a graduate of West Point, it bothers me that any school would want to block recognition of a major achievement of two of their students. This is not a standard scholarship where you fill out a form and maybe write an essay. This process takes about a year and involves academic and physical tests and physical exams. It requires sucking up to politicians whom you may or may not like to have any chance of getting in. The least that they could do is let the kids receive the appropriate recognition.

We had a similar problem here this year. Our athletic booster club started a new award for sme of our kids and the president of the booster club wanted to present the awards at the awards ceremony. The principal of the high school said that he couldn't because the policy of the high school was that only faculty members could give out awards. Unfortunately, his wife had been allowed to bring in a guy from a state agency to give out some awards the previous year. When he was reminded of that, he quickly changed his mind and let the booster club give their awards.

Their school, their call... (Below threshold)
TomB:

Their school, their call.

Up to the parents and the administration, actually. The school should not allow itself to be influenced by anyone else.

Uh, whose school?

That school belongs to the taxpayers and they have every right to express their thoughts.

Taxpayers may pay for it, b... (Below threshold)

Taxpayers may pay for it, but don't ever fool yourself that they own it.

The Boston Herald is report... (Below threshold)
Ruth:

The Boston Herald is reporting that these awards will now be presented as the school received many calls from parents and others.

The awards were not present... (Below threshold)
Juia:

The awards were not presented at the school awards ceremony, but are intended to be presented at the graduation exercises.

The ceremony lasted three hours as it was, and I'm very glad that no extra people were aloowed in.

The school is upholding its policy that has been in place for years. They have refused private universities in the past (and even this year!), and no one made a big fuss. Just because its a military academy?

The kids got a louder applause than any of the other awards receipiants. Not even the kids who got into Ivy Leagues got as loud an applause as they did! The principal made a speech about how proud she was of the students there (did the kid who got into Columbia get a speech? How about the three that got into Cornell? The first student from King Philip to go to Brown in ten years? The two kids that got into Little Ivy Leagues?)

King Philip is not making a political statement. They are simply sticking to school policy without exceptions. Personally, I think some people are analyzing this too much.

Let me guess julia, your br... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Let me guess julia, your brat was one of the "other" students that didn't get recognized. And the big bad military men did. We hates the military don't we julia...we hates them.

The four service academi... (Below threshold)
Marine Engineer:

The four service academies -- the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, are NOT LIKE any other colleges in the United States.
Five service Academies; you neglected the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.

Actually, I don't know any ... (Below threshold)
Julia:

Actually, I don't know any of the kids who got into good schools. So there. I just think they should be recognized too.

And the school was just being consistent in applying the policy to all institutes of higher education, be they private or military.

Actually, he was correct in... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Actually, he was correct in a way. There are FOUR MILITARY Service Academies, but there are FIVE Federal Service Academies. I totally agree though, MMA is just as tough as the others. Congrats to all of the seniors who were accepted to the Academies, they've been working hard and have earned that recognition.




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