Imagine taking a fitness test to get into college. And needing a nomination from a congressman or senator just so a school will even look at the application at all. And, having to begin this process the moment high school begins.
For Mo Cavinee, these requirements were all a reality in order for her to get into her dream school: United States Military Academy West Point.
Born in Springfield and raised in Creswell – she is the only female accepted to USMA West Point in the state of Oregon.
“There’s a lot of discipline that comes with getting into West Point,” said Cavinee’s father Bill. “She started this process as a freshman. She gave up basketball, her lifelong passion, to start training for the cadet fitness test.”
Cavinee refers to herself as a “typical high school student” who participates in student council, plays sports, maintains friendships, manages homework, and still completed all of the requirements West Point threw her way.
“She looks ahead. She gets up in the morning and has these notecards of what she has to do that day which she writes out the night before. She’s very structured and that allows her to get more done in a day than just trying to wing it,” said Bill Cavinee.
Her dedication has paid off, all of the time management and reminder notes have gotten her to the finish line just in time to start a new race.
“Those roots planted during freshman year, and building connections at West Point throughout the last four years were a big part for me,” Cavinee said. “It’s an amazing experience all around, I get giddy thinking about it.”
Cavinee inherited her parents’ passion for the military, recalling her mom’s thrice deployment. Bill and Julie Cavinee have been married for 24 years, Bill served in the Army for 14 years, and Julie is still enlisted in the Army National Guard going on 28 years.
Mo Cavinee, with her parents and sister, Sarah.
Bill Cavinee said he expected his daughter to follow in Julie’s footsteps, but Julie Cavinee said there was never an expectation that Cavinee had to make career decisions any which way.
“It really was a personal choice,” Julie Cavinee said.
Though Cavinee had worked tirelessly to achieve acceptance, ultimately she had to make the decision between two reputable schools: West Point and the Air Force Academy.
With her interest in aviation, Cavinee said maybe the Air Force Academy seemed like a more obvious choice. She said she’s been told she has the physique and personality to be a pilot.
But after a trip to West Point her junior year of high school, Mo said she connected with the institution and reconfirmed her first choice.
“I got to see a football game, follow around a cadet and go into a classroom,” Cavinee said. “I didn’t even know what book they were reading. I asked the kid I was following around to see his book so I could pay attention, then I started answering questions.”
Having lived in Creswell all of her life, Mo said she’s excited to promptly start her education at USMA West Point in New York. June will move fast – she graduates from Marist Catholic High School in Eugene on June 12, reports to her first day at West Point on June 26, then launches into basic training for six weeks.
To make up for her lack of summer break between graduation and her new transition, Julie and Bill Cavinee have graciously extended their daughter’s curfew until she leaves for New York.
“Mo’s always excelled in opportunities to provide leadership, and she’s always had leadership,” said Bill Cavinee. “This application process is entirely up to the student with no parent involvement. As a parent and adult looking at our future leadership, I go ... wow. I couldn’t have done it.”