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Personal Storytime | West Point Military Graduation

Personal Storytime | West Point Military Graduation

June 04, 2024

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to take a moment to share a personal story that is close to my heart and resonates deeply with the principles of perseverance and dedication that we champion at WFA.

In the summer of 2019, our family experienced a poignant and significant moment as we dropped off Baby J (our middle son) at West Point Military Academy Preparatory School. It was a warm, sunny morning, and the atmosphere was filled with a mix of excitement and nervous anticipation. Baby J, with his eyes bright with determination, stepped into this new chapter with a resolve that was truly inspiring. As he walked off with his suitcase to the back with the cadre, I remember offering words of encouragement and assurance. “This is just the beginning,” we told him. “You have everything it takes to succeed here. We believe in you.”

The journey ahead was filled with challenges, one of the toughest being the survival swim class. Baby J, who had never been a strong swimmer, faced the prospect of this class with understandable trepidation. There were moments when the challenge seemed insurmountable, and he even considered quitting. However, his determination to succeed was unwavering. Every day, he practiced swimming diligently, pushing himself beyond his limits.  He eventually passed the class, a victory that marked a turning point in his journey.

Fast forward to last Saturday, May 25, 2024, we found ourselves once again at West Point, but this time for a celebration! Baby J, now 2nd Lieutenant Jalen Caldwell, was graduating as an officer with a degree in Engineering Management, which is the equivalent of an engineer with a business degree. His transformation over the past five years had been extraordinary. He stood tall, confident, and ready to take on the responsibilities of a leader.

As we watched him walk across the stage to receive his diploma, we were flooded by emotion – pride, excitement, hope, optimism. The moment was made even more special by the lifelong friendships he had formed in his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. This network of brothers was instrumental in his journey, providing him with strength and solidarity through the highs and lows.

One of the most memorable moments of my life as a father was pinning Jalen’s insignia during his commissioning ceremony. The pride and joy I felt in that moment are indescribable. It was a culmination of years of hard work, determination, and unwavering support.

This journey has been a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of a strong support system. It is a reminder that with determination and the right support, we can overcome any challenge and achieve greatness.

Thank you for allowing me to share this personal story with you. I hope it serves as an inspiration and a testament to the values we uphold at WFA.

P.S. I encourage you to watch the videos and view the photos to witness these proud moments firsthand.  God Bless America.