Greyson Everidge is finishing his freshman year at the University of Florida, to which he received a four-year Army ROTC scholarship. But he is willing to repeat his freshman year now that he has accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy, in West Point, New York.
The Ocoee resident, a 2018 graduate of West Orange High School, will enter West Point, the academy of the U.S. Army, on July 1. He received two nominations: one from U.S. Rep. Val Demings — who also nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis — and another from Francis Cortez, professor of military science and lieutenant colonel of the University of Florida Army ROTC.
“Having two (nominations) was really good for me, and I'm really grateful for both of their nominations,” Everidge said.
“Receiving the appointment to West Point meant so much to me,” he said. It has been something I have been pursuing a dreaming about for a really long time, so it was almost surreal getting notified that I actually got in. I put in a lot of work across multiple years and dedicated a huge part of myself to try and get in.
“To actually get in was overwhelming because it was the validation that all the hard work paid off,” Everidge said. “Most times, you don't fully succeed in what you are doing or get into that dream school, so to actually get it was the best feeling by far.”
Everidge, 19, said he has wanted to attend one of the service academies since middle school, and he set a goal to work toward.
“I’ve always been patriotic, and, obviously, West Point focuses on their principles of Duty, Honor and Country,” he said. “But besides that, I was drawn to the environment and the types of people that are there. It's hard, it's different and it's a challenge, which I really like and know will make me the best person that I can be. Everyone there is like-minded in their goal to get a great education and become an officer, so it's really easy to be motivated and focus on what is important while you're there.”
Before receiving a nomination, applicants must meet basic requirements to become a cadet. Everidge had one nomination a year ago, but he couldn’t get medically accepted because of a torn knee joint. So, he enrolled at UF on several scholarships, including the Ultimate Warrior Scholarship awarded from WOHS. He reapplied to West Point and the Naval Academy, too.
Ultimately, he decided on West Point.
He finishes his freshman year in about a month and then will be in New York on July 1 for Reception Day. Although he’s still deciding on a major, he has narrowed the field down to life sciences, environmental sciences or international affairs.
“My ultimate career goal is to become a doctor, preferably a trauma surgeon,” Everidge said. “I like the idea of being the first person to make a real impact and save a life on someone who has been badly injured.
“But, before that, I want to serve my time in the Army,” he said. “I’d be getting my medical degree slightly later on in life while I focus on my military career, but I want to use my military experiences to help me in the civilian world. I have always wanted to serve since I can remember, and I know that if I didn't do it I’d always regret it.”
The 2018 WOHS graduate played club soccer and was a three-year varsity soccer player, serving as president of the Soccer Club. He was a National Honor Society house leader and an AP Super Scholar with Distinction. In addition to a full Bright Futures scholarship and the ROTC scholarship, he made the UF Army ROTC Ranger Challenge team.
Greyson Everidge is the son of Nan and Ben Everidge of Windermere Groves, in Ocoee, and the grandson of Marie and Bill Hughes of The Manors, in Windermere.
“(We) are thrilled on the one hand at the honor and prestige but by the same token (we) are very much aware of the commitment he and (we) are making,” Nan Everidge said. “West Point has a wonderful alumni network who we are quickly learning to value and rely upon. So, we are learning a lot as we go, which helps ease any anxiety you would naturally have in this exciting adventure. … Who knows now where duty will take him — or all of us?”
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.