Resilient CHS alum joins ‘long gray line’ at West PointBy Jay Turner
In the early spring of 2011, a few months before he was set to graduate from Canton High School, Bryan Glick tasted the bitter disappointment that accompanies a dream deferred.
In Glick’s case, that dream was to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, and it had seemed well within reach just a few weeks before when he had secured a spot on the National Waiting List after obtaining the nominations of both Representative Stephen Lynch and Senator Scott Brown.
As Glick explained recently, “This did not mean that I would get in, but an appointment was still a possibility and I was very hopeful and excited. Unfortunately, about three weeks later I was notified that they had finished with appointments for 2011 and I was not selected. I was disappointed and felt like all hope was lost for this dream of mine.”
But the thing about Glick men is that they do not give up; it’s simply not in their DNA. Bryan’s paternal great-grandfather, Abraham Glick, served in World War I as an Army infantryman, and his grandfather, Leon Glick, served with the Army Air Corps during World War II, flying 35 combat missions over Germany on a B-24 Liberator Bomber and living to tell the tale.
Bryan’s father, Jim Glick, is also an Army veteran, and he impressed upon his two sons the importance of hard work and persistence in achieving one’s goals.
Now, more than a full year later, Glick is finally reaping the benefits of those lessons as he begins his life anew as a West Point cadet.
Getting there involved a few detours — including a one-year stint in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at UMass Amherst — but he eventually reached his destination and was officially accepted into the USMA class of 2016 on August 18.
To reach this point, Glick had to first complete the academy’s grueling, six-week Cadet Basic Training program. It was intense, fast-paced, and both mentally and physically draining, but he “learned to love every second of it.”
The program consisted of a combination of classroom work and field exercises, including rappelling and rock climbing, basic marksmanship, live grenade throws, firing grenade launchers and machine guns, and even “getting gassed without a gas mask.”
Glick said the experience was every bit as challenging as he had expected. Then again, so was his journey to reach West Point after falling in love with the place on a visit with family more than 10 years earlier.
“Just hearing about the sheer historical relevance of not only the campus, but the graduates, made me want to join the long gray line more than anything,” he said. “I have always felt that strong feeling to serve my country and figured the best way to do it is with the leadership training only West Point can offer.”
From that point forward, Glick worked with his father on a plan to accomplish his goal. He maintained high grades, became active in sports, and sought out leadership and service opportunities. At CHS, he was a National Honors Society member, played football and studied martial arts. He also joined the Mass Bay Division Sea Cadets, completed four years of Junior ROTC training, and volunteered with the Marine Corps League and St. Gerard Majella Church.
Still, Glick had done enough research to know that his acceptance was hardly a guarantee. And even after securing the nominations of his congressmen, he tried not to get “too excited” and made sure to formulate a back-up plan.
When informed that he had not been selected, Glick was disappointed but hardly defeated. “I felt pretty determined to try harder the next year and prove to myself that I could get in,” he said.
He ended up enrolling at UMass in the fall of 2011 on a full ROTC scholarship, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he had an “unbelievable experience” and forged several great friendships.
He enjoyed it so much that he gave serious thought to staying for the next four years. But the pull of West Point was too strong, and Glick worked hard throughout the fall to improve his standing with the academy. Once again earning the nominations of Lynch and Brown last fall, he decided to make a direct pitch to West Point’s Northeast admissions officer, who invited Glick to New York for a face-to-face meeting.
The meeting went very well, and he also received encouraging words from the director of admissions. Yet he once again found himself on the National Waiting List by March of 2012. His immediate thought was “not again,” although he held out hope and knew he could not have done anything more.
A few weeks later, Glick was asleep in his dorm room when his father called to report the good news.
“I was in disbelief,” he said. “It was hard to believe, but I finally got my appointment from President Obama within a few days in the mail. Senator Brown also personally called me on my cell phone to congratulate me.”
Glick said his entire family, including mother Karen and brother Michael, as well as his closest friends were all thrilled by his appointment. But it was his father who had the biggest reaction to the news.
“He definitely pushed me to try as hard as I possibly could have to get in,” he said of his dad. “Without his help and support none of this would have been possible.”
Now living out his dream, Glick began classes in August and will continue at West Point for the next four years. Upon graduation he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant, and from there he is thinking about going to Ranger School, although he is keeping his options open for now.
With his path now secured, Glick can say with complete confidence that “it was all 100 percent worth it.”
“It wasn’t easy, but it was good to see that the plan worked,” he said. “The hard work I had to put in to get here really makes me appreciate this experience every day here at West Point.”
Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=16065