By Ann Patton
Academy Spirit staff
In one of the largest appointee orientations in the Academy’s history, members of the Class of 2013 got a healthy dose of what to expect during their first year on the Academy.
Close to 1,000 appointees, family members and friends attended briefings in Arnold Hall Monday for the opening day of the first appointee orientation. The event, spread over two days, will be repeated next Monday and Tuesday and again April 27 and 28.
Col. Chevalier Cleaves, director of admissions, stressed the decisions to accept an appointments can only be made by the appointees themselves.
“Once you have accepted the appointment, it is yours,” he told them. “This has to be right for you.”
Colonel Cleaves also cautioned them to train well, especially in light of the Academy’s high altitude.
“Take time to prepare. Push yourself,” he said and noted Academy life is challenging.
“Break it down in small victories. Nobody can do it for you.”
Orientation appointees and visitors received briefings from Academy senior leaders as well as overviews of Basic Cadet Training, the Honor and PEER programs, Airmanship, finance, medical care, finance and the Association of Graduates.
Appointees also paired off with and shadowed a cadet for a day during their visit. Parents and other visitors took walking tours of Academy facilities along the Terrazzo.
Dean of the Faculty Brig. Gen. Dana Born said a first step in succeeding at the Academy is the orientation. She estimated about four of five appointees now attend and emphasized the event helps them make informed decisions.
“It has to be ‘I want to be here,'” she said.
One of her favorite monuments on the Academy, the eagle and fledgling statue outside of Mitchell Hall, displays its symbolism of being very learning-focused. General Born said appointees can look forward to studying with world-class faculty, choosing among 32 majors and two minors and exploring out-of-the classroom experiences such as cultural immersion and research.
The dean reminded appointees the faculty and staff want them to succeed.
“We define success on how the cadets are doing,” she said.
Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Samuel Cox expressed his appreciation to parents.
“Thank you for sending us your best, your sons and daughters,” he said and explained the Academy’s organizational leadership, with cadets as the mainstay in cadet training.
Col. Paul Ackerman, Academy vice superintendent, congratulated ap-pointees and their parents, noting the Academy received 9,890 applications for the Class of 2013.