Minor, Cadet Witter give presentations in honor of Veterans Day


Hanny Wolkoff

Sir, yes, sir– Class of 2019 alumnus Cadet Ryan Witter speaks in front of an audience about his experiences in the military. Witter visited the high school on Veterans Day on November 11.

John Guerrera, News Editor

In recognition of Veterans Day, Art Department Leader Andrew Minor and former high school graduate cadet (CDT) Ryan Witter gave a presentation that detailed their experiences in the armed forces. Students and faculty were welcome to attend on November 11, periods six and seven, in the library.

Minor’s presentation was oriented around his time during basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, how art impacted his time in the service and how his passion ultimately created a career path. Growing up, Minor described himself as an “art kid” with long
hair and less passion for traditional academics.

The military was a part of Minor’s family history with both his grandfather and father serving in World War I and Vietnam, respectively. However, when growing up, joining the service was never promoted among his family. In fact, his mother described Fort Sill as the “armpit of the universe.” When Minor arrived in Oklahoma, an immediate difference in culture and climate imposed a sense of unfamiliarity and curiosity, but never a sense of fear.

“I was an art kid. For me, the move wasn’t traumatic, just very different for me,” Minor said.

After the completion of a ten-week basic training, Minor was deployed for one year of homeland security at West Point military academy. During his service, he would monitor the safety of cadets attending the university. In addition to his personal experience in the services, Minor also touched upon the importance of Veterans Day and honoring our nation’s heroes.

Previously Minor had worked to petition against the Veterans Affairs. Petitions were to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other traumatic brain injuries that had not been recognized by military officials. Veterans who fall under this category would commonly would abuse substances to cope with their mental instability; the use of these substances would garner a veteran a dishonorable discharge from the service.

“When I was there, many service members were living out of vans; they were tough customers,” Minor said.

Recently Minor has done work for the Veterans’ hospital in Newington, where the motto “the price of freedom is visible here” hangs over the entrance. This sign serves as a reminder of the dedication and bravery U.S veterans possess to keep the citizens of the U.S safe. The closing words of Minor’s presentation welcomed students and faculty to participation Operation Gratitude, and make the veterans feel special on their day of honor and recognition.

CDT Witter is just starting his journey in the United States Armed Forces. Witter, a 2017 graduate, has begun his third year at West Point Military Academy in New York. Witter was an active member of the school community as he was a member of both the football and track teams, and involved in the National Honor Society (NHS) and Peer Leaders.

At West Point, Witter has looked to adapt to leadership positions as he has previously served as a Sandhurst Military Squad Leader during the annual Sandhurst Military Skill Competition. Additionally, at the beginning of next semester, Witter will become a first sergeant for his committee (Greeks) and lead approximately 120 cadets at the academy.

However, Witter has not forgotten about his roots and sees West Point and the Army as a place to develop and advance his artistic and leadership skills.

“West Point and the military have provided me with so many opportunities to build upon all of the skills that I not only gained through high school but the Farmington community as a whole,” Witter said.

During his time at West Point Witter has developed his passion for the arts, and used his skills to benefit the West Point community. Farmington’s signature “F in motion” was a project Witter worked on as a member of the Arts Through Technology Class and is featured on Farmington sportswear.

At West Point, Witter has helped create company spirit wear in addition to a patch that is worn by all regimental staff.

“I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people I have ever met and make some of the best friends I have ever had in my life,” Witter said.

His experiences will help lead Witter to a future career in the Army, where he looks to become a Second Lieutenant after graduation and apply for Special Forces in the future. In the meantime, CDT Witter is looking towards graduation and completing the academics and training West Point institutes into daily life.