June 13, 2020 - West Point, New York
The United States Military Academy Class of 2020 has demonstrated strength and resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic. West Point will provide a graduation ceremony befitting the accomplishments for the Class of 2020 and demonstrate the strength of our Army and our Nation to the world. Cadets were able to overcome a pandemic and finish the semester online while they were dispersed across the country. West Point and the Army look forward to welcoming the newest cohort of Lieutenants into the ranks of the Army Officer Corps.
The 100th Night Show
The 100th Night Show has been around since 1871, as a collection of comedic skits making fun of the 47-month West Point Experience. Since 1903, the show has been a full-length comedy-musical. The song “100 Days ‘Til June” has been traditionally sung at the end of the show for a number of years to celebrate 100 Days until graduation.
The Class of 2020 cast of the show thought it would be a neat project relive the song in order to stay connected in a remote environment during COVID-19. Now that graduation day is actually in June, it felt even more fitting.
The Class of 2020 returns to the U.S. Military Academy
Members of the class of 2020 share their thoughts about returning to West Point, the excitement to stand on the parade field with their classmates, and getting ready to graduate and serve their country.
West Point has taken deliberate measures to ensure the safety of cadets, staff and faculty, and families of West Point during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pillars of the Academy
Four graduates with Class of 2020 represent the Academy's four leader development programs: Character, Academic, Physical, and Military. Through these programs, cadets learn to live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence.
Daine Van De Wall – First Captain
"The military pillar--to me--is what makes West Point unique. People often say they want to go to West Point to serve. While I agree, there are so many different ways to serve--enlisted, ROTC, OCS. I made the decision to transfer from ROTC at the University of Florida to West Point because I wanted additional opportunities to lead. That is what makes West Point so special. Cadets have the opportunity to lead 1 cadet up to 4,400. The experience of leading as a squad leader at the Naval Academy, company First Sergeant, Command Sergeant Major for Cadet Field Training, and finally as First Captain is what has made my West Point experience so special."
“I’ve always equated physical fitness with not only the opportunity to lead by example, but also the demonstration of effort and preparation. Being fit is a way to make an impression and serve as a role model for others. It has served me well as a Team Captain of Army Track and Field, and I am sure it will continue to do so as I lead Soldiers in the Army. Physical fitness isn’t an end state, but rather a constant battle to improve yourself with time, hard work, and sweat.”
I came to West Point because I wanted to be surrounded by a group of peers dedicated to supporting one another, becoming the best version of themselves, and serving the United States. I found exactly that, and made some of the best friends I’ll ever have through our shared experiences in classes, military training, and athletics. Further, the challenges I faced over the last four years provided me the confidence to lead others through difficult situations. I’m extremely proud to graduate and join the Long Gray Line.
Samantha Sullivan – Trust Captain
"Character is what you do when no one is looking, it is the foundation of everything we do not only at the Academy, but in our everyday lives. As the Trust Captain, I was able to get more cadets to care about the issue of sexual assault and harassment through personal testimony and demonstrate what we do at the Academy to prevent SA/H in order to collaborate with other Academies, schools, and Army officials to improve our own system. West Point has taught me to stay strong through tough times, shown me examples of extraordinary leadership as well as struggling leadership, and allowed me to explore what it means to be a leader of character in my everyday life."
Class Of 2020 Features
An International Relations and Chinese double major. She has a deep interest in Chinese politics and is writing her undergraduate thesis on the politicization of China’s free trade zone policies. Mary has studied Chinese language while on semester abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and plans to use her language skills to supplement her political science research. She has interned with the J5 Joint Staff China division at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and has also interned as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Resource and Infrastructure division. Additionally, Mary is president of the Chinese Language Forum, where she plans and executes events aimed toward increasing the political, cultural and linguistic proficiency of West Point students toward China. Mary will continue studying China’s political economy at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar where she will receive a Masters in International Relations. Following her studies, Mary will serve as an Intelligence Officer.
Charlson Ro was able to help oversee the IT transformation of West Point which consisted of migrating to a new network (WREN) and improving services throughout the academy (Wi-Fi in the mess hall). Ro was recently accepted an offer to pursue a master’s at MIT Sloan through the Lincoln Laboratory Military Fellowship in the fall. For him, graduating from the U.S. Military Academy represents the culmination of his sacrifices, struggles, and successes. More importantly, graduation marks the beginning of a lifelong commitment to honorable living, service and fulfillment of duty. Time management and peer leadership are two skills that he will bring with him moving forward.
Dion Perinon is the U.S. Corps of Cadets 4th regimental commander. In his time as commander, 4th Regiment was able to demonstrate excellence in several areas under the exceptional leadership of him and his classmates. Some of their overall accomplishments include B4 wining the Brigade Sandhurst competition and top regiment in several events including Tunnels To Towers and the annual blood drive. Dion is a self-described "jack-of-all-trades," and a musical talent. He was a member of the String Ensemble, and a member of the Worship Team for Sunday Night Service. Perinon decided to attend West Point and pursue an Army career with the goal of becoming as well-rounded a person as possible especially after seeing the impact it had on his father, who is currently a Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the U.S. Army.
Ebakoliane (Eba) Obiomon
Eba was competitively selected to be the Assistant Captain of the Women’s Boxing Team both her Cow and Firstie years. She is the third of the “fighting Obiomons” to graduate from WP as she was preceded by Jackie, her older sister class of 2019, who boxed all 4 years and was a collegiate boxing champion; EB, her older brother and class of 2018, was a Boxing Team Captain both his Cow and Firstie years as well as a 2 time Collegiate Boxing National Champion. Eba branched combat arms while Jackie will be attending medical school upon completion of BOLC and EB is an infantry Airborne, Ranger assigned to the 82nd and was a strong favorite to represent the 82nd at the “Best Ranger” competition until the present pandemic. After boxing to a record of 4-0 her firstie year while dominating all competition, Eba was the favorite to win the 147lb women’s Collegiate Boxing Championship this year.
Lynne Mooradian was selected for both a Marshall Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In addition, she was also a Rhodes Scholarship Finalist. She was also selected as a 2018 NCAA Division I Google Cloud Academic All-America® of the Year, along with four Patriot League Scholar Athlete awards. Between Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, she is a 7-time varsity letter winner and holds multiple USMA school records. This year, she was also selected for the LTG Hal Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence Award and the Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) Cadet Leadership Award.
Jefferson City, Missouri
Haley Watson was selected for both the Schwarzman scholarship and the Fulbright Netherlands scholarship. She was also ranked the #1 cadet to branch Aviation and an Airborne Honor Graduate. She earned Master of the Sword, Brigade Soldier of the Quarter and is a six-time varsity track letter winner, and Academic All-Conference Track for four years. This year she served as the 2nd Regiment, 2nd Battalion CSM and Captain of the Track and Field Team. In her military role, she started a monthly luncheon panel for 3rd and 4th class cadets where she would select first class cadets and tactical officers to talk to them about different experiences and opportunities to help navigate the West Point experience.
When Deanna was 17, she joined the National Guard as an x-ray tech to pay for college and after 3 years found herself applying to West Point. What she thought of graduating from West Point would mean to her has not changed significantly since she arrived in 2016: to be the best leader she could for her future soldiers. As she continued through service, she found her peers to be inspirational. Their dedication and commitment give her the willingness to continue serving and encouraged her to seek higher education. As a cadet she thrived because of the mentorship and leadership she was surrounded by. West Point, to her, is a community that is tight knit, an opportunity waiting to be taken, and an experience she has been privileged to be a part of. As a cadet she taught English in Thailand, learned mountaineer skills in Vermont, toured Germany and Israel, and studied in France for one semester. Each of those opportunities has contributed to her success as a cadet, but more importantly they will pay dividends into her military career. She branched Military Intelligence with an Infantry branch detail. She was also awarded the Fulbright and Schwarzman Scholarship and will attain her master’s in international security policy/global affairs before attending IBOLC at Fort Benning.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Robert (Bobby) Norwood was selected for both the Truman Scholarship and Stamps scholarships. He is also an internationally-recognized debater. As the founder of West Point’s first student-run media group, he has used the power of film to combat sexual assault on campus. His documentary on the subject, “Target 35,” was shown immediately following the Superintendent’s speech to the entire student body and all staff and faculty at the Academy—more than 6,000 people. As a Computer Science major, he has spent countless weekends of his time as a cadet with the Cyber Policy team, debating how global policy should respond to technology. His interests in media and photography meshed together at CTLT where he spent three weeks with a Psychological Operations unit in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He trained with Soldiers who regularly deploy to the Ukraine and the Balkans to use information to combat Russian influence in the region. This made him realize something important: his passion, media, provided a way to create change in the world around him. As the USCC Brigade Public Affairs Officer, he became more involved with the West Point Public Affairs Office, working to help them tell the story of cadets at West Point.
Glen Rock, New Jersey
Her first semester Cow year was one of her toughest, yet most rewarding. She broke two ribs halfway through Combatives, requiring her to stop the class. Later on that semester she underwent double jaw surgery. During this time, she missed class for two weeks, but yet was able to persevere and achieve some of her best grades in her four years. Additionally, I was a PSG and despite not being able to do all the PT events, her platoon still supported me, and squad leaders willingly stepped up when she needed them to. This semester showed her what good followers and leaders look like. It also proved to her that adversity, when approached correctly, will bring out the strongest in people. She has branched Quartermaster and will be going to Camp Humphreys, Korea for her first duty station.
Adaya is a 4-year member of the Army West Point Women’s Boxing Team. She is a Coach K Excellence in Teaching Character Through Sport Award Winner, 2-time National Champion, New York Metros Boxing Champion, John G. Winant Fellow, American Service Academy Program (ASAP) Participant and she was this year’s Team Captain for Army West Point Women’s Boxing. She has branched Signal and will be going to graduate school at Georgia Tech in the fall.
Benjamin Jones serves as the 2nd Regiment Command sergeant major. Graduating from West Point has been a lifelong dream for Benjamin. Growing up in an Army family, he has heard stories about West Point and its incredible graduates for years. He has successfully achieved several great accomplishments such as the Ironman Triathlon, competed with the Black and Gold Sandhurst Team, selected to represent USMA during the Service Academy Exchange at the U.S. Naval Academy, Gamma Theta Upsilon member (National Geography Honor Society), Superintendent’s Award for Excellence, Distinguished Cadet and Master of the Sword.
Wyckoff, New Jersey
Brenden Brown was a two-sport national champion during his time at West Point. Brown won the USPA Collegiate National Powerlifting Championships for the 181 lb. weight class in 2019. In 2019 he also won a national championship as a member of West Point’s sprint football team. He also served as Cadet in Charge (CIC) for the 2019 West Point Special Olympics. Brown was commissioned as an air defense artillery officer and will begin his Army career at Fort Hood. It means everything to him to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy. For him, it has been a lifelong dream to graduate from this institution and be given the privilege to lead America’s sons and daughters. The skills he will take with him are based around helping people and performance. Mission first, people always.
Monica Schmelzenbach was a two-time national champion in Judo during her time at West Point. In July 2019 she competed in judo at the World University Games in Naples, Italy as a member of Team USA. Schmelzenbach was received the Master of the Sword award for the Class of 2020 and served as the co-captain of the judo team. She was commissioned as a transportation officer and will begin her Army career with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck Germany. She believes that being constantly challenged, given several opportunities and being surrounded by other great people with similar aspirations has shaped her into the leader of character her Soldiers deserve.
Southern Pines, North Carolina
Benjamin Harvey was three time NCAA qualified as a member of the Army West point wrestling team. He was a recipient of the 2020 Lt. Gen. Hal Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence award and 2020 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Billy Sheridan Memorial Award, which honors athletes for their accomplishment on the mat and in the classroom. Harvey was commissioned as a military intelligence officer with a branch detail to field artillery. He will begin his Army career at Fort Carson. To him, West Point does a fantastic job focusing and discussing the values that are important not only to the military but also the nation. He believes the most critical task for officers is to make sure our units are behaving morally and ethically, and West Point’s focus on guiding cadets to demonstrate these values in training will help him and all cadets apply them as officers.
Nicholas Cunningham will attend graduate school at Harvard and study biostatistics after his graduation from West Point. He competed as a member of the Cyber Policy team during his cadet career. He was a member of the winning team at the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019. After his time in the Army he would like to pursue a career in public health. He believes our collective experience as a nation during the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for leadership in public health and his education will place him in a unique position to contribute.
Valley Center, California
Gartrell Bowling will attend medical school at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences following his graduation from West point. Bowling completed two summer research internships at USUHS while a cadet. He also took part in a semester exchange program at the U.S. Air Force Academy and volunteered in a humanitarian refugee project in Greece. Bowling was a four-year member of the Army Crew team and has his civilian Skydiving A-license.
“I am thankful for all the challenges that West Point has put me through and the various opportunities that have allowed me to expand my understanding of leadership,” Bowling said. “To have been able to surround myself with other caring and selfless friends and peers was a blessing. The relationships I have formed with my teammates will last forever and I cannot wait to work with them in the future. It is an honor to graduate from USMA and join the Long Gray Line.”
Nicholas Perovich has been awarded the Lincoln Laboratories Fellowship to earn his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in aeronautics and astronautics after he graduates from West Point. During his cadet career, he published two journal articles detailing research he completed while at West Point. In 2019, he was one of four finalists for the World Rowing Filippi Spirit Award, which is awarded to one university rower in the world. Graduating from West Point to him means being entrusted to lead and care for the Army’s most valuable asset: People. It also means being a part of a long tradition of selfless service to this country. The two most important things West Point has helped him develop are competence and character.
Arelena Shala is the first female cadet from Kosovo to graduate from West Point. She previously attended the Kosovo Military Academy for two years before being given the chance to attend West Point. Shala was a Geospatial Information Sciences major with a minor in Middle Eastern Regional Studies. She has completed an internship at the Institute for Creative Technologies in the University of Southern California, where she contributed to the Army Research Laboratory. Shala will study international policy at Stanford University as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar after graduation from West Point. Her dream is to return to Kosovo to help her young country and its wider region respond humanely to its ongoing migrant and refugee crisis. As a former refugee herself and a proven leader, Shala is uniquely suited to fulfill this dream.
James (Alex) Albright
Copper Canyon, Texas
James Albright serves as the 2nd Regiment Commander. He will attend Alpert Medical School at Brown University to pursue a dual MD/MSc. He plans to study Public Health and Population Medicine to gain a better understanding of how to improve the Military Healthcare System as well as civilian healthcare in the future. Following medical school, Alex plans to pursue an Orthopedic Surgery Residency through the military. His greatest memory at West Point was the 5 weeks he was the Cadet Basic Training Commander this previous summer. He, along with 300 other members from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 were responsible for training and mentoring individuals from 17 different countries and all 50 states. This was a memorable experience because he was able to learn so much about people and, for him, he fell in love with the service. At that point, he learned that the Army, and frankly, this world, is not about you. He learned it is about how well you develop others and teach them how to be leaders that can continue to develop others.
Support Our Graduates
Celebrate the Class of 2020 by showing your support for the graduating cadets!
Download and print posters and take picture of you, family members, and friends holding the posters. We will be featuring images on this page, so be sure to check in for updates!
Class Of 2020 Postmark
The West Point Parents Club of Michigan and the United States Postal Service produce a special postmark annually to commemorate graduation. For information on how to receive the Class of 2020 postmark, please see the release.