Two Harnett County graduates made it into the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.
Daniel S. Bain, a 2021 graduate of Harnett Central High, and Maaika Dones, a 2021 graduate of Overhills High, will be among the academy’s newest cadets who will start basic training on June 26.
West Point is America’s oldest, continuously occupied military installation, first garrisoned on Jan. 20, 1778, according to the academy’s website. Only about 15% of new cadets each year are women.
Dones is the daughter of Denise Ridges and was a softball standout for the Lady Jags, boasting a .925 fielding percentage and leading the team with 24 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. She was also active in the BETA Club, Student Government Association, volleyball and basketball and was an eight-semester cadet in the Overhills High School Army JROTC “Jaguar Battalion.” She graduated as a cadet battalion commander — the highest rank a cadet can serve within the battalion.
Dones told Harnett County Schools her leadership philosophy is, “Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and write your own future. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from achieving greatness. Do it for the ones who couldn’t see today.”
Bain is the son of Kelly Bain and Lillington Attorney Al Bain. He served as Harnett Central High’s senior class president and its JROTC cadet battalion commander, earning a rank of cadet lieutenant colonel.
He was captain of the school’s wrestling team and earned all-conference standing for cross country in his senior year. Sen. Richard Burr nominated Bain for admission into the academy.
He found out he was accepted earlier this year.
“I was pretty ecstatic because I’ve been looking at going to West Point since freshman year of high school and there’s like nothing else I really wanted to do,” he said.
Bain plans to major in defense and strategic studies and international affairs.
He and Dones will report to the academy for six weeks of basic training at 6 a.m. June 26.