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Central High Graduate Headed to West Point


Emilio Haynes​​​​​​​In just a few short weeks, 2020 Central graduate Emilio Haynes joins the United States Military Academy at West Point as the only Cadet in his class from Nebraska. Now, as we celebrate America this Independence Day, he looks to his future serving our country while earning an education.

This wasn’t originally the plan. Haynes had applied to a mix of universities including Augustana, Briar Cliff, Morningside and UNL to study engineering. Then in the fall of 2019, a Central graduate from West Point came to the school to recruit outstanding students.

As a star wrestler and member of band, Haynes earned a variety of accolades including membership in the National Honor Society and O-Club which honors athletes who excel in academics. Teachers put his name forward to speak with the recruiter.

“She told me all about the school and all the great things that come out of it and all the great things it’ll prepare me for in the future,” Haynes said. 

His mother was supportive, since she grew up with a military background. After a lot of thought and prayer, Haynes decided to join 20,000 other applicants for one of roughly 1,000 spots in the prestigious academy which also comes with a full scholarship.

For most applicants, the process begins in their junior year of high school, so Haynes had to move fast to complete everything before the deadline. He filled out his application and completed a mix of academic and fitness tests, but one of the most important parts was getting a recommendation from a U.S. Representative or Senator.

Representative Don Bacon’s team interviewed Haynes and his academic performance, ambitious personality and thoughtful answers to their questions made it clear he was worthy of a nomination.

“I said to myself that if it all plays out and if it all comes together, then it’s meant to be,” Haynes said.

First, Rep. Bacon called to congratulate him and inform him of his nomination. Then came a letter of acceptance from West Point, but to Emilio’s mother Alma Haynes, it still didn’t feel real. Then came a knock at the door from a second lieutenant to congratulate the family.

“We were in shock,” Alma Haynes said of his acceptance. “I pretty much cried the whole time when the lieutenant came to the house to explain the whole process.”

Haynes sets off for the upstate New York academy in mid-July. After completing the rigorous Cadet Basic Training program, he’ll begin his courses in engineering. In four years, he will graduate and be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

After serving, he hopes to start a family and give back to his mom and dad. For now, he’s enjoying time with loved ones while gearing up for this new opportunity.

“I’m actually really pumped,” he said. “I’m always looking forward to growing in a new way, especially since I’m meeting people from around the country. It’ll be an amazing experience to learn.”

Omaha Public Schools congratulates Emilio Haynes for his incredible accomplishment. He and all 2020 graduates make us #OPSProud.


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