“Always Smiling Through The Pain”: Perseverance And Family At The Prep School And West Point

Edrick Hudson


Edrick Hudson grew up in Lancaster, Texas, with his parents and his twin sister. His father retired from the Post Office, and his mother works for AAFES. In high school, he ran cross country and track, and played basketball. He planned on earning a college degree and entering the military, and considered Texas A&M. Instead, he was the first person from his school to be accepted into a service academy. Before coming to the Military Academy, he had to complete the Prep School, an adventure he was not excited for. He struggled with academics and time management, but it proved to be his best year, and the place where he found a family among his fellow prepsters. In 2017, he entered West Point and found that CCBT (Cadet Candidate Basic Training) was harder than Beast Barracks. His struggles began when the academic year started, but he achieved success once he began working with the Center for Advanced Performance. The class RS100 helped him with time management, and he was recommended for “First Year and Beyond” by instructors who noticed that he was working hard to pass his classes. In “First Year and Beyond,” he worked one-on-one with a mentor, COL Darcy Schnack, to create a plan to “Beat the Dean,” and chose mechanical engineering as a major. He also suffered some physical setbacks. While at the Prep School, he dislocated his kneecap, and over time his knee worsened, requiring MPFL (Medial Patellofemoral Ligament) reconstruction, essentially three surgeries in one. Edrick rushed the rehabilitation process because he wanted to be able to complete CFT (Cadet Field Training). Later, he reinjured his knee playing basketball and had to go to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for his next surgery. Recovering from his leg injuries required a lot of focus and hard work. In his free time, he participated in the Gospel Choir and found another family there. The choir was where he felt like he belonged. He also was active in the Cultural Affairs Seminar and NSBE (National Society for Black Engineers). Some of his closest friends dubbed themselves “the survivors,” five African-American Mechanical Engineer majors. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he was on a trip with his cousin and sister to Washington D.C., and when he learned that he would not be returning to West Point he sheltered at home in Texas. Fortunately, he had his laptop and several books, and he was able to get the rest of his materials after professors loaded them on Blackboard. Throughout the quarantine, he was able to reach out to COL Schnack for additional assistance and guidance. He kept in shape while at home by running with his sisters. As the pandemic continued, Edrick wanted to return to West Point because he “wanted to be an adult.” After graduating, he will attend the Engineer Basic Course before reporting to the 36th Engineer Brigade at Ft. Leonard Wood. In this interview, he talks about his childhood and his experiences at the Prep School and at West Point, highlighting his personal struggles with academics and recovering from multiple surgeries. He feels that West Point has challenged and changed him in many ways. He has learned perseverance and leading with character. At the end of the interview, he states that “West Point means family.”


name Edrick Hudson
institution USMA
graduation year 2021
service Engineer
unit 36th Engineer Brigade
specialty USMAPS
service dates 2021