Campbell earns West Point seat

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

South Panola High School senior Eli Campbell has one an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and will have an official signing ceremony today at 9:20 a.m. in the R.O.T.C. room at the school.

Campbell set his sights on the appointment four years ago and completed a rigorous application process that culminated with nominations from Mississippi’s Congressional delegation, led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, Sen. Roger Wicker, and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Sen. Wicker called the student to relay the news from West Point officials two weeks ago. Representatives and Senators make nominations to the Academy, but appointment decisions come from the U.S. Army.

Campbell also had nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Some appointees are assigned to begin their scholastic careers at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, but Campbell will be seated with the incoming fall class, having been judged ready for the Academy.

“I really don’t think it has hit home yet, but he’s very excited about this opportunity. He has worked a long time to get this appointment,” said his father, Thad Campbell.

The appointment is essentially a $400,000 scholarship to the world’s premier leadership institution and military preparedness college. Campbell will attend classes and take part in summer programs four years, and will graduate as a 2nd Lieutenant. He will then serve in a military capacity for five years before deciding whether to make a career of service to the armed forces.

“Eli is a deserving student and a fine young man that we can all be proud of,” said SPSD Superintendent Tim Wilder, making the announcement Wednesday at a meeting of the Exchange Club of Batesville.

About 3,000 applications are seriously considered by the Academy from the roughly 15,000 nominations received. Class sizes vary from year to year based on need and Congressional approvals.

Campbell was reared in Pope and attended Pope School. He is member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and a four-year member of the R.O.T.C. He played baseball in Batesville and has been a member of the South Panola Tiger football team four years, and has been the long-snapper the past two seasons.

Campbell also serves as a student assistant coach for the Tigers’ powerlifting team. Besides high academic standards, West Point cadets are required to perform many difficult athletic and conditioning standards during their enrollment.

He is the son of Thad and Emy Campbell, and has two sisters, Zoey (9th grade) and Ally (5th grade). His grandparents are Mike and Brenda Campbell of Pope and Ronnie and Jonnie Hendricks.

“We want to thank the school for all they did to help Eli obtain this goal,” Thad Campbell said. “Teachers went above and beyond filling out evaluations and writing letters, and counselor Janet Dickerson was especially tremendous. The school just did a fantastic job.”

Friends and anyone wanting to meet Campbell are invited to attend the ceremony today.

Eli Campbell