‘It’s important to do something to give back’

PV Seniors to join military training programs during college


Amelia Jacob

Brothers Sean and Kevin Cuffe will be commissioned as officers into the army following their graduations from West Point University and Lehigh University.

Abby Shapiro and Cameron Dolan

(Editor’s Note: The caption of the featured image has been corrected for accuracy purposes from “enlisting in the army” to “commissioned as officers in the army.”) 

Senior Sean Cuffe was in the car when a call came in, accepting him to The United States Military Academy of West Point.

“[Getting my official acceptance call] was a great feeling,” Sean said. “ It’s been such a long process to try and get into West Point, and it was nice to have it come full circle.”

Prior to his official acceptance, Sean received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award as well as a letter of assurance essentially guaranteeing his position.

“What we’re really looking for [at West Point] is a well-rounded student; somebody who is not just a good student, but who is also a good athlete,” West Point Admissions Representative Stephen Kalish said. “West Point is a very physically demanding place and looks for people who also have leadership abilities, so when I saw Sean’s file and had attributes for all three I thought he was a good candidate from the West Point perspective.”

Sean’s interest in joining the military, more specifically West Point, sparked during his sophomore year when he began applying for West Point programs.

“When I started thinking of colleges [during my sophomore year], I knew I wanted to join the army after college, and then that’s when I started thinking of West Point service academies,” Sean said. “It was really mid-year when I had to start the application for West Point, and I was all in for West Point [from then] on.”

Sean said that the main reason he had for wanting to join the army was the thought that “we are all so fortunate to grow up where we live and be given countless opportunities, so it is important to do something to give back.”

Senior Kevin Cuffe, brother of Sean, also decided to go into the army, but will be attending Lehigh University and participating in the ROTC, Reserve Officers Training Corporation, program.

Kevin said that although he is not going to West Point, both programs have the same end result — the appointment to a leadership position in the military.

“[The ROTC program] is kind of like West Point, except that it gives you a more traditional college experience,” Kevin said. “You’re going to a normal college and you’re taking normal classes and you have a normal social life and everything, but it’s the same outcome after college where you go in as a commissioned officer in active duty.” 

Though Sean considered joining the ROTC program and leading a regular college life, he decided against it saying that “West Point is the best position for me, so after my military career I can go into the workforce.”

Sean explained that while both of the brothers are joining the military, no decisions were made together.

“We’re pretty independent when it comes to situations like this,” Sean said. “Neither of us really ever persuaded each other [into joining the military,] it was kind of just what we both wanted to do.”

And though he was always interested in joining the army, Kevin said that it all came back to “giving back to the country”.

“I’ve always been interested in serving [in the army] and I think it’s a great way just to give back to the country because someone’s gotta do it,” Kevin said. “Someone’s got to go out there and fight for all of us and I definitely have a lot of respect for the people who have fought for us and give us so much freedom and safety.”