A Cape High senior got an early Christmas present Dec. 15 with an appointment to West Point.
In a surprise visit to Cape High, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons handed out the honor in person. He told Alyssa Spell, her family and a surrounding group of fans that he had a list of remarkable candidates to chose from for his primary nomination, but Alyssa stood out.
“Your application was excellent and outstanding,” said Coons.
Speaking to several news outlets about her experience, Alyssa was poised and articulate, and a little shocked.
“I'm feeling excited and nervous, but I'm really grateful I was chosen,” Alyssa said.
For the Spells, serving in the Army is part of the family. Alyssa's father, Thomas, now police chief for Lewes Police Department, served in the Army, and his eldest daughter recently graduated from West Point Academy. Alyssa will join her brother who is a junior at West Point.
“It's in our blood,” Alyssa said. “I've been preparing for this since I was 6.”
Alyssa's mother, Ellen, said her oldest daughter had a great experience at West Point. She met her husband, and she is now working in military intelligence specializing in radiological and biological weapons.
“The girls loved it there,” said Ellen Spell.
Lt. Ron Erale, head of Cape High's JROTC, said Alyssa has been an exemplary member of JROTC where she serves as an executive officer of the group.
“This is a wonderful young lady,” he said. “She's delightful to work with. She does things efficiently, and it's always good work.”
Alyssa realizes she has more work to do. The appointment behind her, she now has to pass a physical test. Teaching cycling at an area gym helps keep her cardiovascular system in tune, and Crossfit training is handling the rest, she said.
“I always knew this was something I wanted to do,” she said. “I'm excited about being there and meeting new people.”