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A Good Story About America

August 16, 2017
Plain English Version

Simone Askew became the first black female to hold the highest student position at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Credit and thanks to Hilary Swift for The New York Times.

Most Americans agree on one thing. The merits of a person should be the most important quality. That is the road to success.

But it is not easy. Now comes a story out of the United States Military Academy.

The Academy is best known as West Point. It is the place from which many U.S. generals come.

One cadet (student) each year becomes the Captain of the West Point Corps of Cadets. That person will lead at West Point events. That person will set the class agenda. That person will oversee the 4,000 cadets.

This year the Captain is Simone Askew. She is the first black female to hold the post.

It was not hard to get the job. All she had to do was be outstanding. One of her high school teachers said, “This is a kid who did well academically. She did well athletically. She also did well from a community standpoint. It’s very hard to have all three.”

The teacher went on, “To achieve what she’s achieved, it takes thoughtful, long term planning. It’s not something that just happens. It’s something she worked for.”

An officer at West Point said, “Some cadets are really high performing. They just go about their own business. Simone is just a leader in every sense of the word. She figures out how she can connect people together and serve others.”

Cadet Askew’s mother is white. She is divorced from Cadet Askew’s father, who is black. Her mom said, “I look forward to the end of her term in this position. It will be a time where many say she was an amazing first captain. Not just that she was an amazing African-American female first captain.”

The first black American woman graduated from West Point in 1980.

People break barriers all the time. Experts say it does not happen in a vacuum. But almost always, it is the character of the person that makes the difference.

In a nation deep into displaying its flaws, this is welcome news.

Source: The New York Times August 14, 2017

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