Hennepin Teen Chases Dream of Going to West Point

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
Five years ago, when most kids were dreaming about becoming the next Ryan Braun or Kobe Bryant, the now-17-year-old Owen Mallery, of rural Hennepin, was practicing his marching skills and looking up West Point information online.

Mallery, who recent traveled to the famed United States Army Academy for the week long Summer Leaders Experience, has been hoping for his chance to attend both the prestigious camp and academy every since.

 “It’s always been a dream for me. When I was in seventh grade, I signed up for their notifications and I had seen in your junior year you could apply for the SLE, and then when I saw that, I knew when I got to that point I was going to apply,” Mallery said. “I applied in January, and a week later I got accepted.”

Only 1,000 high school students attended the prestigious camp this summer.
Owen’s parents, David and Denise, knew of their son’s desire to attend West Point, a point of worry for Denise and for Dave, an Air Force vet, something to try to talk Owen out of.

“I’m trying to get him to do the Air Force Academy,” Dave joked.
“Plus knowing my wife always wanted to move to Colorado (the location of the academy), not that we’re going to move, it would be vacation spot.”

All joking aside, Dave and Denise said they are both very proud of their determined son.

Owen is hoping that participating in SLE will lead to his admission to West Point, something that has historical precedence.

“It does help to an extent. It more validates the fact that you’re their, that you’re a good candidate, that you’re there and you should keep trying, and keep working hard and keep improving physically and academically,” Owen said. “It gives you information on protocols and things. About 50 percent of the people who go to the SLE go on to be a cadet.”

Owen said going into the week he had some reservations and questions on attending the academy, and all of those were answered during his week-long camp.

“I had been a little worried that you were a robot out there,” Owen said. “But the third- and fourth-year cadets served as sergeants and LTs at the SLE, and you got to know them and you got to see they were still kids. They still joked around, they still played pranks on each other, they still did everything a normal kid would do. I mean they’re adults as well, and they can be really serious, but for the most part, they are like a college kid. I was able to get all my questions answered and all my worries went away.”

His parents agreed, to a point, and just hope he will take the time to evaluate all his opportunities, including local colleges.

“The thing we liked about him going for that week was that it’s a huge commitment going to West Point, and to do that without ever having been there and experienced it, it’s just like, how do you make that decision as a seventeen-year-old kid? For us it was like thank God he got in,” Denis said. “We figured he would come home and say ‘yeah I can se myself doing this or no way this isn’t for me.’”

At the camp, Owen said he was able to experience the physical training, classes, weapons training and military discipline.

While Owen has high hopes for West Point, and after attending SLE, he has a better chance than some, his long-held hopes almost faded last year, after a car accident in August of 2015 caused a back injury that required many months of physical therapy, and sitting out of all sports, one of the requirements for West Point.
“I had to get medically cleared,” Owen said. “The accident definitely held me back. I think that it will hold me back, but as long as I work really hard on working out, getting fit, strengthening my back muscles, my chest, my core, I’ll be able to perform at a high enough level. That’s my hope.”

If things don’t go as planned, Owen will also apply to the Air Force Academy, Bradley, Benedictine or Northwestern.

Source: News Tribune