By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Liam Fury, son of Tim and Tia Fury of Winsted, is one of a select few individuals to be accepted to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY.
“It’s pretty hard to get into the school,” Liam said. “The acceptance rate is usually less than 10 percent every year.”
An honor reserved for the nation’s most promising students, West Point academy seeks leaders who are intelligent, physically fit, and of outstanding character.
Liam was an A honor roll student at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School in grades nine through 12. He served as FFA reporter and vice president, and was a member of the National Honor Society and letter club. He was captain of the football, wrestling, and trap shooting teams, and was named homecoming king.
Outside of school, Liam is a decorated Eagle Scout and Eagle Scout scholarship recipient, and led the Boy Scouts of America Grey Wolf National Youth Leadership Training Course in 2015.
Liam’s desire to attend military school was sparked by Winsted resident Chip Guggemos, who is a 1986 graduate of West Point.
“He’s been a family friend of ours for a long time, and he was my religious education teacher [at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted],” Liam said.
As Guggemos shared details about the school, Liam knew that was where he wanted to be. He began preparing early in high school, and applied his senior year.
“It’s a pretty long process to apply a lot more intense than other colleges,” he said.
The academy’s website notes that candidates should have above average strength, agility, and endurance, and must pass a fitness assessment and medical exam. Candidates are also screened by their ACT/SAT scores, their high school transcripts, a Field Force interview, a school official evaluation, and more.
“Everything goes into a point system” Liam said.
Applicants must also receive an official nomination, and Liam was nominated by Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District Representative Colin Peterson.
Although Liam met all the entrance requirements his senior year, West Point didn’t have enough spots for the 2015-16 school year.
“It was kind of heartbreaking for me,” Liam recalled.
Instead of heading to New York, Liam spent a year at Florida Memorial University (FMU), earning a 4.0 grade point average.
He entered college with 21 credits from advanced placement classes, and tested out of some general education courses. As a result, Liam was able to focus his studies on aeronautical sciences with a concentration in flight education. He was also elected as treasurer of Alpha Eta Rho National Aviation Fraternity.
Perseverance paid off
Although he enjoyed his time at FMU, Liam’s heart was still set on West Point. Staff from Colin Peterson’s office encouraged him to reapply, and he received a principal nomination giving him an edge in the competition.
This time, Liam was accepted. Along with the other successful applicants, Liam’s tuition, room and board, and expenses are fully covered by the school.
West Point offers a variety of academic disciplines, such as chemistry, English, foreign languages, computer sciences, history, and law, to name a few. Many types of engineering are offered, such as nuclear, mechanical, electrical, environmental, and civil.
Liam said he is interested in aerospace engineering, and may want to become a pilot someday.
After graduation from West Point, Liam will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. Graduates are committed to at least five years of active service in the military.
“A lot of people turn it into a career with the military,” he said.
For his first year at West Point, Liam said he’s excited to meet other people who have similar interests and goals.
“I’m looking forward to the brother and sisterhood the camaraderie,” he said.