Tri-Lakes cadet reflects on four years at the academy

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On May 29 Cadet First Class William LaRivee will join more than 1,000 other cadets as their four years at the United States Air Force Academy comes to an end and they receive their hard-earned diplomas and become officers.

For LaRivee graduation is bittersweet. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time at the academy but is looking forward to what his future holds.

“I’m excited,” LaRivee said.

Going to the academy was a given for the 2009 Lewis-Palmer High School graduate and he knew at times it was going to be really hard.

“I always knew I was going to go to end up at the academy. I come from a military family. I was ready for the challenge,” LaRivee said.

Both of LaRivee’s parents were in the Air Force. He is scheduled to go to pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Until he leaves for training in six months he’ll be casual status at the academy.

As he thinks back to his four years LaRivee said he has made some great friends and considers what he’s taking away from the academy.

“It teaches you to handle all those things like clubs, academics and training and being able to excel at them. Another important thing is that you realize how important other people are. It’s not just about you,” he added.

One of the things he liked the most about his time at the academy was the opportunities it afforded him such as traveling. LaRivee spent one semester abroad in Austria and went on a month long language emergent program in Germany. He also spent a week in Tanzania. He had a hard time trying to find anything that he didn’t like about the academy and said it would probably have to be not having the freedom to leave all the time.

Being so close to home helped him get through his freshman year and the fact that he made friends easily and quickly. He said all cadets have those moments when it seems to tough. On his third day of basic training he wasn’t sure if he could go on.

“Everyone has those awful days when you think you’re not going to make it. But there are 1,000 other kids going through the same thing and my squadron helped. I made great friendships,” LaRivee said.

Now that those four years are behind him LaRivee is taking 60 days of leave and will be heading to Japan and Thailand with another cadet to go backpacking. His sister graduates from Harvard the day after his graduation but he will be unable to attend her graduation. He just recently came back from Boston where he got to spend some time with her.

Like many cadets he’s disappointed that there will be no Thunderbird flyover at graduation but he is looking forward to the air show with World War II airplanes.

“The academy has some really great people. I’ll remember them for the rest of my life,” LaRivee said.

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