Superintendent’s Spotlight: Conrad Wendell


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Conrad Wendell

February 8, 2024

WVHS senior Conrad Wendell’s interest in West Point began almost seven years ago. Conrad said he just knew that, even back then in sixth grade, West Point was where he wanted to be. Not long ago, he found out that all the hard work he’d put in toward his long-term dream had paid off; an acceptance letter from West Point arrived!

“Honestly, I kind of developed an infatuation almost,” Conrad said with a laugh. “It all started from seeing the cadets when I would go to West Point football games, or when they would come visit our church. As I started to learn more and more about [the academy], the more interested in it I got.”

Conrad’s favorite class, at the moment, is AP Chemistry. His interest in the subject matter was piqued during an Honors Chemistry class he took during his sophomore year. He followed that up with AP Biology last year, before diving back into chemistry this year.

“I decided, ‘you know what? I want to give myself an extra little challenge this year, and take another AP science class” he said. It’s a hard class – rigorous and demanding – but it’s been great. We are a very close knit class, and we help each other out.”

Conrad said that his AP Chemistry classmates are often on nighttime group chats discussing their homework, and helping one another in class every day. While his plan is to study science at West Point, that’s not how his application process started.

“My goal, at first, was to study law and become a lawyer, because it was a field I’ve always had an interest in. But, as I looked back at my course load throughout high school, I really found that my passions leaned more toward the sciences. So chemistry and biology, those are what’s directing me to go into chemical engineering.”

It was Conrad’s own astute self-reflection that led the National Honor Society member to realize that “maybe [he’d] been blindly following this idea that [he] wanted to be a lawyer, with only a vague concept of what that would entail for college and life afterwards.”

When Conrad is not in the lab, you can find him running laps. He is an avid runner who takes great joy in the sport, both during his free time and as a member of the Wildcats boys cross country team. He has run full and half marathons, and said he enjoys the cross-country team’s nearly 6-month long season.

“The season started this year in late June and went all the way through November, so that’s the longest season of the year, about six months, and it’s rigorous,” Conrad said.

Conrad said he plans on keeping up with his passion for running while he studies at West Point.
“They have their own cross country and track team, and they’re an elite group of runners,” he said, adding he’s not sure he’s ready for that level. He also explained that West Point requires everyone to play a sport of some kind during their college career. “Whether it’s a Division I sport, like the track and cross country team, or one of their clubs or intramural sports. So, that’s the marathon team, which travels the country going to high profile races.”

Conrad is also active in both the WVHS OCAL (Orange County Academic League) team, and plays trombone in the jazz band.

“I picked up trombone in the 4th grade, when we chose instruments,” said Conrad. “I was in the [OCMEA] All-County Band last week. I went last year, too, and I think I got in the year before, but the festival ended up getting canceled because of the weather.”

Conrad is looking forward to the next five years at West Point, after which he will graduate into military service.

“”When you graduate West Point, their whole goal is to turn you into an officer, so you do graduate as an officer in the US Army,” said Conrad. “I will also do five years of active duty service after graduation, followed by three years in the reserves.”

Conrad’s advice for students coming up behind him?

“I would say, keep up that work ethic, no matter how difficult or any adversity. But, at the same time, understand that, at times, you’re going to need to rely on the help and guidance of others,” Conrad said. “It’s important to find a balance between your own spirit and fortitude, but also to know that you’re going to need the help or advice, and that it’s important to allow yourself the opportunity to take it.”


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.