Growing up, most kids dream about what they would like to be as an adult. Brandon Walker was no different: he imagined himself as a pharmacist like his father, a doctor and many other professions. But he never settled on any one thing.
Now in his senior year at Bulloch Academy, he has decided. He was recently accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York, so he will be an Army cadet in the near future, an Army officer as a career.
"I have no family members in the military, so no one had expected me to join the armed forces," he said. "It wasn't until I (started thinking more) about the attacks that took place on 9/11 that I knew what I wanted to do: defend my country."
His parents, Walker Pharmacy owners Lindsay and Devra, brothers Jordan and Griffin, and grandparents, Roswell and Vernell Walker and Emerson Proctor all are ecstatic, he said. In fact, he said, "My grandma Vernell is going around telling all of her friends that I'm going to West Point. She says she's real proud of me."
Getting into West Point is no easy task. All candidates must be recommended for admission by either the vice president of the United States, one of a state's two U.S. senators or by the U.S. congressman in a candidate's home district.
After forwarding his academic and athletic records from Bulloch Academy, he received recommendations from both Georgia senators - Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson - and Congressman JohnBarrow as a future cadet.
BA English Teacher Deborah Carico said about Walker:
"(He) has been a delight to teach, as he is an honest, hard-working student with an inner drive. No matter the discussion, the task, or the assignment, his positive attitude, and his clever wit impact the classroom setting."
Once Walker, 18, decided he was serious about trying to get into West Point, his parents agreed to send him to last year's Summer Leadership Camp at the Academy. He was one of 500 students from around the nation to attend the camp.
Walker said the week-long course was informative and demanding. While he stayed with other attendees in the dorms and met various professors at the Academy, they were also put through a number of challenges and examinations to test their suitability to the Army's demands.
Bulloch Academy math teacher Beth Burke believes Walker will do well at West Point.
"I am very impressed with his independence and maturity," she said. "Brandon is a focused young man who thrives on understanding everything around him. He applies this determination to all areas of his life."
His training for West Point begins June 27, when he reports to Camp Buckner, the basic training facility for all new West Point cadets, where he will undergo the Army's rigorous six-week training program. Once he has passed, he will prepare for the regular academic programs at West Point as a "Plebe," or Academy freshman.
During his second year as a Cadet he will choose a particular specialty of the services, and will then begin his specific training for future assignment. Once he begins his senior year, he is given one or more possible assignments as a newly-commissioned second lieutenant in the Army.