Topaz residents graduates from West Point |

Topaz residents graduates from West Point

Topaz resident and Douglas High School graduate Frank Fair wants to thank all those Carson Valley residents who helped him with prayers, and otherwise, during his four years at West Point Academy.

Frank J. Fair, 25, enlisted in the Army after graduation from Douglas High School in 1992, and he spent three years as an enlisted man before attempting to get into the elite school.

The process is difficult. All students have to complete a 10- month prep school before consideration for the academy.

In addition, a congressman has to sponsor a cadet, Fair said.

Fair’s mother arranged all his recommendations by calling his high school history teacher, Mike Rippee, his auto shop teacher, Wayne Moore, and Gardnerville Elementary School teacher Alison Mains-Lay, and state Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, who put them in touch with then-representative Barbara Vucanovich. Another DHS teacher, Lyn Gorrindo helped Fair when he was failing a chemistry class, he said.

The classes are difficult, the schedules are packed and the stress is high, Fair said. His class started out with over 1,200 students and only 934 graduated.

“The first couple of months, most people quit because of hazing and all the screaming at you,” Fair said. “After that, it’s just because they just figure the military isn’t for them or they can’t do the physical test or keep up in classes.”

Fair said the honor code is also very stringent. Anyone who lies, cheats, steals or is tolerant any of those things, will be suspended.

He said the class president was kicked out 10 days before graduation because he used someone else’s bibliography to pick books for his research paper.

“The longer you’re in, the more they expect from you,” he said.

Every student has to pick a field of engineering to study, in addition to their math, English, history, foreign language, science, psychology, philosophy and military classes.

The perks are the individualized attention students get and the opportunities for student exchange programs.

He said the classes are small, and the instructors are almost obligated to help students whenever they ask for it.

Many students can spend time at other military schools all over the world. His college roommate is in Syria right now, he said.

Fair now has a few months off until he has to be in flight school in Fort Rucker, Ala., and plans on driving across the country to visit West Point friends.

“The good thing about it, is everyone becomes so tight because of the strain,” Fair said. Once he gets to Fort Rucker, he will be there for six months before he is allowed to specialize in one type of helicopter. After that, he has a 5-year commitment in which he can pretty much pick wherever he wants to be stationed.

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