This Photo Of A West Point Cadet In Tears Tells A Story So Many People Are Sharing
May 27, 2016
A cadet shed tears of joy during the commencement for the U.S. Military Academy's Class of 2016 at Michie Stadium in West Point, May 21.
His remarkable journey is what makes this moment truly special.
Alix Schoelcher Idrache had a reason to be emotional. In seven years he went from speaking basic English in a working class neighborhood in Port-au-Prince to graduating from one of the most prestigious military and educational institutions in the United States.
In his youth, Idrache witnessed U.S. forces conducting humanitarian missions in Haiti. Always fascinated with cutting edge technology and military hardware sported by U.S. forces, he remarked that it was the Chinook that blew his mind. In Haiti, becoming a pilot can seem an outlandish dream.
"People where I'm from don't grow up to be pilots right? Like they don't dream of flying a helicopter, that's not something you do," added Alix. "You don't just say I'm going to be a pilot and make it happen. There're no aviation, there're no helicopters, no flight schools. There're none of that."
This July, Alix will enter the Army Aviation Center for Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, as West Point's top-ranking graduate this year in physics.
He recalled the first time he filled out branch preferences, "I asked myself what is one thing I could never be if I didn't come to West Point-and that's a pilot."
It's a story that's almost too good to be true. How did he achieve a congressional appointment, or learn English, or enlist in the military practically before his bags were unpacked in 2009. What drove him into West Point, and what drove him to the top of his class?
Alix credited his father, Dieujuste, for playing the primary role in his academic success. To care for his own family, Dieujuste dropped out of school at 14, leaving his countryside home to find work in Port-au-Prince, and, like any parent, the father of this young lieutenant wanted his children to have the opportunities that he didn't.
"My dad always said, 'education is the only gift I can always give you, because I don't have any anything material to give.'"
And so it goes that a young Alix Idrache, would spend his teenage years as a book worm, driven by a father's encouragement to use education and high marks as a ticket to a better life.
His impressive academic drive was facilitated by his father's drive to provide opportunity. Dieujuste migrated to America in search of a better life for his family, and in 2009, was able to bring Idrache to the U.S. as well.
"At this moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Three things came to mind and led to those tears," Alix explained in a comment on Instagram. "The first is where I started ... The second is where I am ... The third is my future."
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