Douglas High School seniors bound for West Point
June 6, 2017
Some students prepare for college by studying — Douglas High School seniors Ben Hallinan and CJ Hill-Holeman are preparing by running, doing push-ups and weight lifting.
Ben and CJ, both 17, have received appointments to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The two report for six weeks of basic training July 3 before school starts.
"I've always grown up knowing I was going to serve the country and give back," CJ said. "I grew up with those ideals."
Admission to West Point is competitive, with only about 1,250 students admitted each year, according to the school's website. Congressional nominations also are required. Both Ben and CJ received nominations from Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada.
Their acceptance to West Point includes full coverage of tuition, room, board and expenses.
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The summer before their senior years both Ben and CJ participated in West Point's Summer Leadership Experience program.
"I had a fairly good idea I wanted to go to West Point, but going to SLE solidified my decision," Ben said.
CJ and Ben both plan to have careers in the military, and both are interested in infantry.
Ben is the son of Patrick and Sharon Hallinan of Gardnerville.
"I've known most of my life I wanted to go to a service academy," Ben said.
His dad, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, served five years as a captain in the Air Force's space program, and his grandfather served in the Navy.
Ben has a 4.5 GPA and serves as the battalion commander for Douglas' Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program, which he's been in for four years.
"I've learned some amazing leadership traits and skills," he said. "We're very involved in the community."
CJ is the son of Clint Holeman and Rosemary Hill of Gardnerville. His dad is a graduate of the Naval Academy, and his grandfathers served in the Army and Navy, he said.
CJ was accepted to both West Point and the Air Force Academy, but he said he "fell in love" with West Point when he visited the school last summer.
"You walk on the campus and it's hallowed ground," he said. "You're walking in the footsteps of great heroes."
CJ has a 4.3 GPA and is a varsity swimmer and runner who placed 42nd in the nation in triathlon last year. He also participates in multiple clubs that focus on community service, including Key Club and Block D.
"We did, and do, a huge amount of community service," he said. "Knowing what we're doing helps people is a really fulfilling feeling."
Last year, Douglas graduates Koby Hinnant and Chandler Howe received appointments to the Air Force Academy.