HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> Students in Mr. Farley's 7th grade Social Studies classes had a special guest before the Easter break, Cadet Luis Weierbach, who is attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. Luis graduated from Hoosick Falls Central School in 2014.
Speaking to the students, he had two specific messages to share with them. Luis wanted the students to understand that there are so many opportunities out there in the world and that they should start thinking globally now. He also wanted to explain what West Point is and the history of the institution.
Cadet Weierbach gave an overview of the history of West Point from colonial times to the present, as well as the role West Point has played in military history. He shared a list of West Point graduates who became world leaders, including two presidents. He stressed that one of the important things was to have a well-rounded education and an understanding of other people from diverse places and backgrounds.
Regarding being able to come back to HFCS and speak to current students, Luis said "It's an honor to give back like this to a community that has given me so much. It is an honor also to represent the academy."
7th grade Social Studies teacher Chris Farley, who invited Cadet Weierbach, said, "To have a former student come back and address the kids is beyond meaningful; it can be life-altering. What's special about Luis coming back is that he's such a positive role model for so many kids in this community."
Taking questions from the students, Luis was asked if his experiences at HFCS helped him get to where he is today. He replied, "You get out of this what you put into it." Luis added, "Wrestling also helped me to be ready for adult life."
One student asked about how wrestling helped Luis and he said, "It helped me learn how to master fear management when I got to the academy."
For students who may not be as interested in sports, Luis suggests they just try anyhow, "Anytime I find something that I am not good at, I see it as an exciting chance to develop myself as a person." He added, "Hoosick Falls offers lots of opportunities for students to challenge themselves. Go to leadership conferences, join clubs, play in the band – just participate. You'll grow as a student and as a human being, while gaining insight into what it means to be a leader."
Mr. Farley said, "Coming back to speak to his community, a community that is enduring its share of struggles, is of vital importance. By giving of himself, he is lifting the community."
Cadet Weierbach showed some videos about West Point, as well as a presentation of his typical day-to-day life experiences. He explained that West Point is where you develop the whole person – academic, military, physical, leadership, and honor and respect.
Reflecting on who Luis is as a person, Mr. Farley explained, "He would never acknowledge this, but his attributes and accomplishments are heroic. Noble in its simplicity. He's the best example of how hard work and perseverance can help someone overcome adversity. I had the opportunity to teach Luis, and I've learned from him as well."
Before heading back to West Point, Luis added, "If I've influenced just one student, then it was a success."
About Hoosick Falls Central School
Hoosick Falls Central School District is a public school comprising grades UPK through 12, located approximately 25 miles east of Troy at the juncture of the states of New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Enrollment at Hoosick Falls Central School is approximately 1,200 students, with about 50% living in the village and 50% in the surrounding countryside. The mission of Hoosick Falls Central School District is to develop responsible citizens who possess the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful participants in a global society.