Bryant Nguyen Heads West!


Congresswoman Pressley signs off on Nguyen’s commitment. (Photo Credit: @blsthrives)

By Lena Thai (III) and Meilin Sha (VI)

In early February, Bryant Nguyen (I) was accepted into West Point Academy, a prestigious college known for its immersion in rigorous academics and military training.

Nguyen became interested in West Point during his junior year when the school reached out to him. 

His family history was an important factor toward his decision to apply to West Point. “My dad was a Vietnam War refugee. So, coming [to America] was really big. […] It provided me with a lot of other opportunities, like building the family and giving me what I have now. I see this as my way of paying back by helping other people get that same opportunity,” he explains.

As a student at Boston Latin School, Nguyen participated in extensive extracurricular activities, including both varsity swimming and varsity crew. He also established the BLS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) club.

Nguyen believes that the key component to applying for West Point is starting early, since acquiring a recommendation from a Representative or Senator and passing the physical examination are both complex processes. Nguyen himself had to take the physical examination twice.

Nguyen received his nomination from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who has served as the U.S. representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district (the northern three-quarters of Massachusetts) since 2019.

West Point, located in New York, provides students with both a basic college education and a foundation on America’s military values. Unlike most colleges, West Point is tuition-free; graduates, however, must serve five years of active duty in the military and three years in the reserve.

A first-year West Point student has to attend a bootcamp, where they are taught the foundations of military life, from shoe-shining to salutes and marches. After six weeks of camp, the academic year starts. A typical day of academics, studying, athletics and military training runs from 6 A.M. to 11 P.M.

West Point alumnus Jack Keleher P’24 is appreciative of the long-lasting relationships he made out of the school’s demanding environment and of how the school has shaped his mindset.

“Along the way, you’re learning leadership lessons, learning how to have tough conversations, learning your own personal leadership style,” he says.

Aspiring West Point student ​​Ethan Sardina (III) agrees that gaining leadership qualities and learning by training for the military while balancing a general college education is an enriching environment to be in.

“When I found West Point, I realized not only can you get free college, but you get rigorous training. And five years at minimum in the army as an officer, but you can also get a degree which I can get in engineering and I really liked the idea of that. It is a very competitive but friendly environment.”

The friendships created at West Point extend into the Long Gray Line, a large alumni network for West Point graduates. On the surface, it allows them to connect with other fellow alumni in new workspaces and cities. For graduates, however, it is being a part of a family that has experienced similarly high-pressure situations.

Nguyen is nervous about the transition from civilian to military life but remains excited about this new chapter in his journey.

“I’m really excited for all the other relationships. Over the summer, I went there to visit and saw how exciting it was. I’m just really excited to be part of that type of community, where everyone is really supportive and really pushing each other to get better,” remarks Nguyen.