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Lester Prairie student receives prestigious nomination to enter West Point
Feb. 14, 2020

Mark Mitten
Correspondent

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Along with his parents, April and Mike Lee, Lester Prairie High School senior Evan Lee recently received a surprise phone call from Collin Peterson, a member of the US House of Representatives, from the Seventh Congressional District of Minnesota.

Lester Prairie School Superintendent Dr. Melissa Radeke, April Lee, Evan Lee, and Lester Prairie School Principal Mike Lee were present when Peterson called to officially appoint Evan to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

When Evan was summoned to the school office Monday morning, the last thing he was expecting was a phone call from a member of Congress, but that is exactly what happened. Peterson called to announce that he was appointing Lee to West Point.

An appointment is an offer of admission, which Evan must either accept or decline, and it is the only way to get into West Point.

According to its website, “to even be considered for candidacy, every applicant to West Point must receive a nomination,” and goes on to explain that nominations are typically awarded by either a congressional Representative or Senator.

However, a nomination does not guarantee an appointment.

Peterson is allowed to nominate up to 10 individuals per year for each vacant academy slot, but only one nominee can be chosen.

This year, Evan received the West Point appointment.

Meg Louwagie, service academy coordinator for Rep. Peterson, arranged the phone call, which was scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

She said these types of calls are always organized as a surprise, and neither the student nor the student’s parents are notified beforehand.

Keeping the event a secret on this occasion was not easy, given that Evan’s father, Mike Lee, is the high school principal, and his mother, April, is a substitute teacher.

Both were working when the phone call was scheduled, and were excited when Louwagie explained what was happening, just moments before their son was brought into the office. Radeke was also present.

Over speaker phone, Peterson announced that Evan was receiving the appointment. The congressman asked the young man questions about his academic record, his involvement in sports and music, and spoke with his parents.

About West Point

The United States Military Academy at West Point is located in upstate New York. It is a four-year Army service academy, originally built as a military fortification during the Revolutionary War in 1778.

West Point served as George Washington’s headquarters in 1779, when he was a general in command of the Continental Army, and was commissioned as a military training academy in 1802 by Thomas Jefferson.

Today, cadets can choose from one of 36 different academic majors. While tuition is free, graduates are expected to commit to five years of service in the military.

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