Amani Baxter aims for West Point

LCC Black Student Union president Amani Baxter on his way to West Point

Former Black Student Union president Amani Baxter of Lane Community College is headed for the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS ) to prepare for admission to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point. 

Baxter took classes at Lane through the Baker Charter School Early College program where he simultaneously earned college credit while completing his high school diploma. He attended Lane from fall 2016 to spring 2018.

As a cadet candidate at the preparatory school, Amani will prepare for the rigorous admissions standards of the famed West Point Academy. The prep school is “an avenue of opportunity to a carefully selected group of soldiers and civilians by providing them the academic, leadership, and physical skills that will prepare them for success as cadets at the United States Military Academy,” says the USMAPS website.

Amani is on a path he set for himself at 14, when he first felt an intense urgency to join the Army and serve his country. Now, 19, he is one of about 230 cadet candidates from across the country admitted to USMAPS.

Once at West Point, Amani will have the opportunity work toward a Bachelor of Science degree and receive leadership and military training in preparation for commission as a U.S. Army officer.

While a student at Lane, Amani juggled jobs, competitive swimming—and he revived the college’s Black Student Union with the support of counselor Mark Harris.

“In a community this predominantly white,” Amani said of Lane, “I felt that it an issue that we didn’t have a black voice on the campus. Mark Harris mentored me and helped me make it as good as we could make it.”

His advice to students is simple: make the time to develop connections.

“Form relationships with your teachers. Don’t settle for less,” he said. “I’ve got a broad perspective and that helps. I know if I do well in my classes, it opens up doors. Have a vision. Have something you’re working toward because it will make you work harder. That’s what will drive you when things start falling apart.”

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Published by Lane Community College Public Affairs, June 2018; revised July 2018.

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Joan Aschim

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