Urge To Fly Helicopters Sends Phs Student To West Point

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West Point confirmed Isaac Cluff's nomination, so he won't be using the $9,000 Presidential Scholarship from Arizona Sate University.

Meanwhile, final exams in senior English, advance calculus and physics stand between Cluff and the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation.

Membership in National Honor Society for his high grades is the only club he hasn't dropped as he balanced study time with earning a letter in both wrestling and track.

A question about his best high school moment makes him pause thoughtfully.

"I'm not sure. In sports, it was having Coach (Dave) LaMotte happy with a wrestling match," Cluff said.

Cluff wrestled six years as a Maverick then a Longhorn; pole vaulted as part of the Longhorn track team and has pitted his running skills against the best in cross country and soccer.

He is "totally excited" to graduate, citing "a long 12 years" with the next 12 already mapped out.

Cluff will spend two years at West Point then go on a mission for his church for two years before returning to West Point to finish his degree and graduate as a commissioned officer.

"A lieutenant is at the bottom of the commissioned officer pole, but it will put me above the enlisted guys, that's for sure," he said with a wry smile.

Flight school acceptance requires good grades and Cluff is confident of his ability to achieve them.

He figures by the time he completes his degree, flight training and payback he will have served in the Army 12 years.

Will he make the military his career?

"After 12 years, what's another eight," he replied.

His five weeks of summer include hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim in a single day with his dad.

He and his parents will make a family vacation of New York City.

Cluff's flight path begins June 30, the date he reports to West Point and the next stage of his young life.

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