St. Joseph alumni share West Point experience

Brothers Griffin and Samuel Strader of Berlin, Camden County, share more than the same parents, and the fact that they are both alumni of Hammonton’s St. Joseph High School. During the past year, both were cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Griffin Strader, the older brother, graduated from St. Joseph High School as a member of the Class of 2007.

“The first time I visited West Point,” Griffin said, “I knew the Academy was where I wanted to go after graduating from high school.” Leadership was a part of Griffin’s background from the time when he was an Eagle Scout. “I wanted to live life to the fullest and make my dream of being able to lead men and women a reality,” Strader said.

During his four years at St. Joseph, Griffin participated in lacrosse, wrestling, cross-country, football and baseball. Once at West Point, Griffin secured a slot on the Academy’s Collegiate parachute Team and remained a member of the team for all four years. At the Collegiate Nationals competition at Eloy, Arizona, this past January, Griffin won two gold medals in the 4-way and 6-way freefall formation skydiving. The Gold Medal for 6-way speed formation was the first time West Point had won the gold for that category.

Griffin credits St. Joseph’s academic program, particularly the advancement placement courses, with helping him handle the rigorous West Point routine that blended academics with military science.

Griffin graduated from the United States Military Academy on May 21 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Younger brother Sam Strader graduated from St. Joseph High School as a member of the Class of 2010. During his four years at St. Joe, Sam participated in track, wrestling, team captain for cross-country, student government and the National Honor Society, finishing in the top percentile of his senior class.

Sam Strader’s yearbook included a quote that said his goal in life was to attend an armed forces academy in order to “serve my country.” Upon graduation, Sam reported immediately to West Point to begin his freshman or “Plebe” year.

Interested in history while at St. Joe’s, Sam took as many history courses as were permitted at West Point, due to the heavy academy schedule required of all plebes.

Sam also wanted to follow in his older brother’s footsteps by becoming a member of the West Point Parachute Team. Following months of practice skydiving, Sam was appointed to the team and now awaits the opportunity to compete on the collegiate level during his sophomore year as a “yearling.”

Categories: Catholic School News

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