Wyatt Hodson presents information about service academies in Cardinal Theater Friday at Webb City High School. The 2020 WCHS alum will graduate after next semester. 

It can be tough, but Wyatt Hodson recommends younger students consider attending a military academy

Bob Foos

One semester from graduating from the Air Force Academy, Wyatt Hodson returned to Webb City High School Friday to talk about how he got there and what it’s been like.

Stacy Stockton, gifted education instructor, invited Hodson to speak to her students.

Former superintendent Ron Lankford wrote one of the six letters of recommendation for Hodson as part of the application process and introduced him.

Lankford said “Wyatt makes us proud by what he’s done, and because he works tirelessly – not for himself but to serve others.”

Hodson was actually selected to attend West Point and the Air Force Academy. In addition to submitting six letters of recommendation (including letters from his English, math and science teachers), he had to write essays reflecting his patriotism and wanting to serve. He was also required to have an ACT score above 28 and to prove his physical ability.

After accepting his appointment to the Air Force Academy, Hodson and other freshmen had to undergo seven weeks of rigorous basic training. “The goal is don’t break,” he said.

He is majoring in astronautical engineering and during an exchange semester got to attend West Point.

Because the appointment system draws students from every state, Hodson said he has made friends from all over the country.

Yet, he said he misses his friends from high school a lot and meets up with them when he’s here on break from the academy.

“I really enjoyed high school,” he said.

He recommended that his young audience do the same while taking hard classes and participating in activities.

Don’t be discouraged by the ACT, he said. “I took it nine times.”

He presented information about all of the service academies, and recommended applying. “I think it’s a great path.” In fact, he said the value of the education he’s receiving is estimated at $450,000.

“Hard work pays off on jobs drop day when we (cadets) find out if we’ve been selected to the job opportunities we want,” said Hodson. In his case, he has been selected for pilot training after he graduates to fulfill his commitment to serve in the Air Force.

Wyatt Hodson answers questions about his experiences as an Air Force Academy cadet.

Wyatt took to heart former superintendent Ron Lankford’s motto, “You can go anwhere from here.”

Glad to have Wyatt home on break are his parents, Rebecca and Matt Hodson, and his sister, Avry.