March 13, 2018 – Jackson, WI – Living Word Lutheran High School senior Thomas Cullen has been accepted to West Point Military Academy.
“My mom cried and my dad was very proud,” said the 6-foot-3 Cullen recalling the afternoon he returned home to find his acceptance letter. “I think she was happy but I think she was a little scared too.”
The 17-year-old Cullen started the application process last year and finished earlier this year. “It was a lot of personal information, essays, awards, honors and I had to get a nomination from Congressman James Sensenbrenner,” he said.
Cullen has always wanted to join the Army and get a world-class education. “I’m an enlisted soldier right now,” he said. “I went to boot camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina over the summer and after I finish West Point I’ll be an officer.”
For the past four years Cullen has attended Living Word Lutheran High School. He said it has really helped lay a good foundation with education, leadership and guidance. “This is really like a family here; it’s a good student-to-teacher ratio,” he said.
A true student athlete Cullen, who is on National Honor Society and carries a 3.9 GPA, has been active in football, basketball, baseball and wrestling. He’s also been in two school musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and Oklahoma and he’s an Eagle Scout, his final project was building a lighted 30-foot flag pole with Lannon stone landscaping and plantings at the sports field behind the concession stand at the high school.
Cullen said his athletic ability and training as a scout helped prepare him for boot camp. “We’d wake up at 5:30 a.m., complete an hour of exercise, eat, go to class or to the shooting range for 8 to 10 hours a day,” he said. “The toughest thing was the 12-mile march with 125-pounds in a rucksack; that started at 8 p.m. and ended at 6 a.m. Everything we learned is teaching us to be uncomfortable so when you’re in an uncomfortable situation your performance is better.”
Mention West Point and Cullen lights up. “It’s so amazing with the architecture and the people. It’s amazing to see 4,000 people marching around in the same uniform every day.”
Cullen will graduate with his class on May 28 and then start at West Point the first week in July.