02/17/13 — Local student receives full ride to West Point

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Local student receives full ride to West Point

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 17, 2013 1:50 AM

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Wayne Country Day School senior Zachary Brewer-Kirby plans to pursue his interest in aviation, military intelligence.

A Wayne Country Day School senior with a penchant for aviation and military intelligence has been accepted to attend West Point, the prestigious military academy in New York.

Zachary Brewer-Kirby, or B.K. to his friends, will have his college expenses covered, an estimated $300,000 value.

The 17-year-old said the military and college ROTC held an appeal when he began the multi-step application process last year.

"The idea of service and being part of something that's bigger than yourself, that's for the greater good of all, I really want to give back, not just to the community but to my nation," he said.

"At first, I was interested in medicine. I was interested in helping people, but I wasn't that into science."

B.K. said a grandfather and uncle had been in the military and other relatives have had a history of service, from his grandmother, a minister, to his mother, Dr. Patricia Brewer, who teaches at N.C. Wesleyan College.

When it came time to pursue colleges, he decided to "go for it" at West Point, but also applied to UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and the University of Richmond.

"West Point was my first choice," he said. "But I had back-ups."

He's since been accepted to UNC and expects to get results from the others in April, but all that became moot once he got the official word from West Point.

But it was a long time coming.

There were different phases involved, starting with sending in basic information.

"They respond back, 'OK, you can keep going,'" he said.

From there, the process included obtaining teacher recommendations and undergoing a physical fitness test, completing three essays and "multiple takings of SAT (test) -- I think I ended up taking it three or four times," he said.

In January of his junior year, he was interviewed by a representative from West Point.

Another requirement was to receive a nomination/recommendation by a congressman or senator. He obtained his from Congressman G.K. Butterfield.

And then the waiting began.

He vividly remembers the day recently that the acceptance letter arrived.

"My mom had a late class so she didn't get home until 10 o'clock," he said. "I got the news around 5 o'clock when the mailman came so I was like sitting on this information for like five hours.

"I was in shock. I'm still kind of in shock now."

And then the celebration began.

"(Mom) was extremely excited, ecstatic," he said. "We just starting laughing, crying together a little bit because we have worked so hard on the application and everything, and she's put so much time into it."

He promptly mailed in his letter of acceptance, which entails plans to attend the prep school for a year as part of the Class of 2014, and going on to graduate from the military academy in 2018.

When asked what he felt made him stand out as a candidate, he replied, "Character, leadership ability, I just tried to be myself."

B.K., whose favorite subject is history, has been a member of the history club at school and played soccer all four years, basketball for the past two and track since last year. He is also a youth leader at his church, New St. Mary Church of Christ, and a member of the Mayor's Youth Council.

He heads to West Point in July and likely will make an initial visit the campus with his mother over spring break, he said.

The humble young man with an unassuming smile is receiving a lot of attention at his high school these days, and takes it all in stride.

"(Everyone's) very supportive, very proud, very happy," he said. "I'm almost a little bit overwhelmed by the support I have received. I'm really thankful for it."

And while he doesn't know any other students at West Point and heard there will be about 1,200 in his class, he did become acquainted with another local student who is already there, Cade Ivey, who graduated from Charles B. Aycock last year, he said.

"I became friends with him over the summer and he gave me some help, some pointers," he said.

On the threshold of a bright future, B.K. said he "would love to make a 20-year career out of the Army" in military intelligence.

"I just kind of like piecing together all the clues, kind of like detective work," he explained.