LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A Long Beach student with dreams of becoming a military leader is well on his way, after being nominated by Congressman Steven Palazzo to attend a highly competitive military academy.
With a full-ride scholarship, Brandon Anderson will begin his four-year college career with the class of 2020 in the summer.
"It's just a high honor. I really want to serve my country," Anderson said.
Eighteen-year-old Anderson is counting the days before he embarks on his college and military career. It's been his goal to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, and serve his country as a military leader.
"My grandfather, he was a Green Beret in the Army and West Point's the Army Academy. He seems so, like, he lit up really well and I really want to make him proud," said Anderson.
Anderson is one of 20 students Congressman Steven Palazzo nominated to a military academy in 2016. To become a cadet at West Point, an applicant must be nominated by a congressman, senator, or vice president and have excellent grades and meet physical fitness requirements.
"I consider myself pretty fit. I'm a tri-athlete, which I do three different sports. I consider myself to be pretty proficient at soccer. When it comes to academics, I think I'm the top ten percent in my class," Anderson explained.
Despite being a top athlete, Anderson says the physical fitness assessment at West Point included some challenges.
"Something I really did struggle with was the basketball throw, which is where you get down on your knees and you have to throw a basketball at least 70 feet," said Anderson.
Anderson, who wants to become a military lawyer, plans on studying pre-law at West Point.
"Brandon has always been a very honorable, a very loyal, a very for country type of a child all his life. So I'm not a 100 percent surprised, but we knew West Point was a long shot. It's a dream. Not many people get that honor to be at West Point," said Brandon's mom, Alicia Anderson.
Anderson has spent the last eight months training with an army veteran to help him prepare for the cadet fitness assessment. Once he graduates, Anderson will become an officer and serve a minimum of five years in the United States Army.
"I think that we need to encourage our young children to look for careers in the military. These are our future leaders. All of the loyalties, all the privileges that we have in the United States, we owe to the military," Alicia said.