WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School senior Royson Folas has accepted an appointment to West Point Military Academy.
“I got the call from the office of Rep. Mikie Sherrill while I was warming up for a tennis match on April 19, and needless to say I was absolutely ecstatic — the admissions process is very long compared to most colleges,” Folas said. “I felt a great sense of pride, accomplishment and most of all relief because West Point was the only school I applied to. Luckily, I was able to capture this moment on camera because a photographer had come in to take pictures of the seniors for the yearbook.
Folas has participated in the Air Force Junior ROTC at WOHS for the past four years.
“I think AFJROTC is one of, if not the, most significant programs that our school has to offer. Whether it’s wearing your uniform properly, doing physical training or community service, every single aspect of the program teaches young students invaluable lessons such as leadership, teamwork and a sense of responsibility,” Folas said. “The program is unique in the sense that the lesson goes beyond a book and can be applied to real life.
“Any student with a positive mindset can reap the benefits,” he continued. “If not for the lessons and opportunities granted to me in AFJROTC, my appointment to West Point wouldn’t be possible. That’s why I’m thankful to Major (Joseph) Marchesini and Chief (Ricardo) Thurston, who are instrumental figures in the program’s success year upon year.”
Folas serves as squadron commander in the AFJROTC. He attended Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, Edison Middle School and Liberty Middle School before attending the high school.
In addition to his involvement in the AFJROTC, he has played on the boys soccer and boys tennis teams for four years. He has been the goalkeeper on the soccer team for two years and plays second singles on the tennis team. In 2020 he tried out for wrestling and was able to wrestle on the varsity level as well.
Folas attended the Institute of Citizen Empowerment during his sophomore year and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has served as managing editor for the Pioneer, the WOHS newspaper for the past two years.