WEST ORANGE, NJ — Four seniors from the 2019 graduating class of West Orange High School (WOHS) will be attending West Point United States Military Academy (USMA), which is not only a record number in one year but also marks the first time in school history that a female has committed to the academy.
For senior Vanessa Lettman, the journey has been bittersweet. She received a conditional appointment to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point for the Class of 2023 in September, contingent upon medical clearance. Around the same time, Lettman was injured in the WOHS girls soccer season home opener that caused a need for ACL reconstruction surgery and intense physical therapy.
Due to the recently updated Department of Defense medical guidelines, a minimum recovery period of at least 12 months following surgical reconstruction is required prior to starting USMA, which begins on July 1. Due to her solid record of achievement, Lettman was subsequently offered admission to the USMA Preparatory School (USMAPS) at West Point in order to give her ample time to heal properly and avoid potential for re-injury while preparing her for the physical demands of USMA.
“I am honored to be attending West Point, one of the most prestigious institutions in the country," said Lettman. "I will be attending the USMA following my prep year at USMAPS and I look forward to the leadership opportunities this will provide. I try to find a positive message through any adversity and despite the minor physical setback, I know I am capable of a powerful resurgence and I will be fine.”
In addition to Lettman, three other top students will attend. Colin Morgan, whose brother Chris will graduate from West Point in 2020, will head directly to the academy along with Wes Rideau-Winds. Andrew Amoyaw will also attend the prep school for a year before heading to the academy.
"WOHS has been honored and privileged to have a candidate attend West Point for the past seven years," said WOHS Principal Hayden Moore. "We are so proud of Vanessa, Colin, Wes and Andrew and know they will do great things. They represent the caliber of students here at West Orange, and we wish them the best of luck.”