Watch CBS News

Runnemede teen heads to West Point, fulfilling childhood dream

Runnemede teen heads to United States Military Academy West Point
Runnemede teen heads to United States Military Academy West Point 01:59

RUNNEMEDE, NJ (CBS) – As graduation quickly approaches for high school seniors, many families are preparing for college.  

One family in Runnemede is especially proud of their daughter who is headed to the prestigious military academy, West Point.  

Since sixth grade, 18-year-old Rebekah Shepkosky has been dreaming of this moment.   

"I kind of had it locked in," Shepkosky said. "I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to go into the military."  

At Triton Regional High School Thursday morning, friends, classmates and family came together to congratulate Shepkosky on her appointment into the United States Military Academy, West Point.   

"It was really shocking at first if I'm being honest," Shepkosky said. "I didn't expect an appointment, but I'm very grateful for it."  

USMA Chief of Staff Henry Schwartzstein said she's one of 108 students in New Jersey that's heading to West Point.   

"Passion and perseverance are what she has for a long-term goal which is to be an Army officer and that's rare to find today in young people," Schwartzstein said. 

The application process alone is an accomplishment, both physically and mentally.  

"I had to go through the fitness requirements first," Shepkosky said. "We did a lot of essays."  

Thirty-six essays in total, on top of also having to receive a congressional nomination, which she got from U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross.   

"It's so hard to get in," Shepkosky's mother, Sarah Shepkosky said. "So many things have to fall into place."  

It's a long process that her family said started well before she got into high school.   

"In middle school, she switched her clock to military time," Sarah said.  

"In my mind, I was like I better start getting ready now, like it's time," Shepkosky said. "I started practicing physical fitness then too." 

She's hoping to continue her love for fitness and her soccer career while at West Point.  

She'll be her parent's second child to serve after her older brother joined the Marines.   

"He's just the perfect role model," Shepkosky said. "Everything he's done I've followed in his footsteps. I really find my purpose in serving others."  

It's a step toward living out her true passion for serving her country.   

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.