Alumni speak on West Point


Olivia Lauter

West Point students and Lovejoy alumni Jonah Barton and Mason Hutchins talk to students about the experience of West Point. Aside from the experiences, the two also talked about the expectations of the school.

In the library, two alumni and cadets at West Point Army Military Academy, Jonah Barton and Mason Hutchens spoke to students on Tuesday about the application process and life at West Point.

“[The presentation] just pushed everything that I’ve been looking for in college,” junior Clay Diercks said. “It has the right majors and overall seems like a process I can learn from and become a better person from.”

Barton graduated from the high school in 2018, while Hutchens graduated in 2020. However, Barton participated in a prep year before he entered West Point. 

“I still got acclimated; I still went into the Army,” Barton said. “As a civilian, I went to basic training. It’s just a year of prepping you academically and also in military life. It basically prepares you to be a soldier in the Army.”

Cadets at West Point are given financial assistance in the form of a monthly stipend, payment for textbooks, tuition, medical care and dental care. Cadets are required to be involved in athletics, which include NCAA sports, Club Sports and Intramural sports.

“I’ve been in intramurals my whole West Point career,” Barton said. “I’ve enjoyed it because you’re basically with the same people that you live with. It’s a great time to get to know and spend time with them. Then you play against other people in the school with other companies.”

Cadets are required to study a stem major. At West Point, 30% of their teachers are civilians, with the remaining 70% being members of the military. 

“They’re amazing,” Barton said. “They will be there for you, and they will help you not fail any class. I’ve emailed a teacher and messaged them on teams, like at 10 o’clock at night, and they actually responded back like they helped me on an assignment the next day.”

After completing their education at West Point, cadets are obligated to serve in the Army for five years after graduation as commissioned second lieutenants. 

“No matter what, after you graduate and are commissioned as an officer, you will have a job as a platoon leader in charge of like 39 to 40 soldiers in the Army depending on what branch you decided to choose,” Hutchens said. “So no matter what, you have 100% job placement; it’s definitely a great bonus.”

Barton and Hutchins were on an extended spring break and decided to set aside some time to hold the presentation. The presentation lasted around 15 minutes.

“I feel like I have a bigger sense of purpose in life,” Barton said. “It’s a college experience unlike any other. The challenges and the failures you face at West Point make you grow and make you stronger as a person.”