Wheeling Central Classmates Appointed to Military Academies

From left, Michael Hall and Jack Stryker

WHEELING — Wheeling Central Catholic High School seniors Michael Hall and Jack Stryker have joined the ranks of young men headed to further their education in the military.

Hall wants to soar through the sky, and his journey there is about to start at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Hall has been accepted to the academy, and he is set to report to campus in late June. Meanwhile, Stryker isn’t afraid of small, confined spaces, and he is looking forward to a career as a submarine commander.

Stryker has been accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he plans to major in naval architecture and marine engineering. He will have to serve five years in the Navy following graduation, and he wants the opportunity to be a submarine commander.

Hall has an appreciation for aviation, which he said inspired him to want a military college education and an eventual career representing his country. He had the opportunity to visit West Point last December.

“What struck me, as we were walking with our chaperones, was seeing the parachute team jumping out of helicopters,” Hall said.

His chaperone was the company commander for the parachute team, and he convinced Hall there were few opportunities as exciting as jumping out of a plane.

“There was also a sense of unity there, with everyone focused on one mission — to serve the country,” Hall said. “I am in the same frame of mind. I really don’t think there will be any other kind of college experience like this one.”

The son of Heather Hall, he plans to study civil engineering at West Point. After graduation, Hall is required to serve five years in the Army, but he intends to make a career out of the military.

Hall was nominated for appointment to West Point by both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va.

He also received a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from Sen. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va.

Hall applied to both academies, as both offered aviation opportunities.

West Point was the first to formally accept him.

At Central, Hall participates in the chess and ski clubs. Prior to his senior year, he was also a member of the basketball and baseball teams.

His route to West Point started last summer, when he filled out an online application, and provided PSAT scores and a list of extra-curricular activities. In the following months, he had to submit transcripts and teacher recommendations, and pass fitness tests.

Separately, Hall also sought nominations from the elected officials.

“It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it,” he said.

Hall will be joined at West Point by his Central classmate, Derek Dearth.

Stryker said he’s looking forward to the opportunity that await him at the Naval Academy.

“I could see making the military a career,” he said. “I could also see myself starting my own business designing boats and yaughts.”

Stryker said he has always wanted to be in the mililtary, and he said he knew the Naval Academy was the right fit for him when he visited there for five days last summer.

“I could see myself there,” he said. “The discipline and the way of life there is something I could learn to adapt to.”

His induction day in June 28.

Stryker is the son of Kevin and Carol Stryker of Wheeling. He was nominated to the Naval Academy by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelly Capito and Rep. David B. McKinley, both R-W.Va.