Ferndale Grad Follows Father’s Footsteps to West Point Academy
(Lara Mossa, July 25, 2021)
FERNDALE, MI – Elijah Pool followed in his father’s footsteps when he left for the United States Military Academy West Point this summer. Pool, a Ferndale High School graduate, received his acceptance letter in February.
“I was incredibly excited and very honored to be accepted to such a high-level institution,” said Pool, who started the application process in March 2020. “I’m looking forward to challenging both myself and the people around me to becoming better people. I’m looking forward to the lifelong bond of the fellow cadets I’ll be attending West Point with.”
Pool’s father, Jim Pool of Ferndale, graduated from West Point in 1994. He majored in history and served two years in the U.S. Army as a personnel officer in Fort Bragg, North Carolina as well as an additional four in the Army National Guard in Chicago as an air defense artillery officer.
“What I loved about West Point was the sense of camaraderie between classmates and the opportunity to grow and push myself to be the best and challenged to be the best,” Pool said. “I loved the environment that nurtured the whole person…the environment very much nurtured the whole person – character, physical, academic. They paid attention to developing leaders of character and the whole person.”
West Point in West Point, New York, is a vigorous four-year college and acceptance provides a full-ride scholarship. Following the program, students are required to serve eight years as an officer in the U.S. Army, five of them as an active-duty officer. The graduates start with the rank of second lieutenant.
“The school is free financially but you pay with blood, sweat and tears,” said Pool, who described the program as much more disciplined than a traditional college.
Following his service, Pool went on to become a pastor at Renaissance Vineyard in Ferndale. He is a leader in the community, working with churches around the world and involved in city affairs. He volunteers for the local homeless shelter and the Ferndale warming center. Besides Elijah, he and his wife, Megan Pool, have three children.
The application process is long and exacting.
Elijah Pool had to submit customary college application forms but also had to write essays, provide exemplary grades and standardized test scores as well as provide background information, conduct a fitness exam and receive nominations from politicians. Both U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Representative Andy Levin backed his application.
While in high school, Pool served as captain of the wrestling team for three years; ran cross country and served as the captain his senior year; participated in jazz band and marching band; joined the National Honor Society and served as vice president this year as well as doing community service through the Renaissance Vineyard Church Youth Group.
Pool’s father never pushed him to attend West Point, he said, but he gained exposure to the school when he went to his dad’s 25th reunion in 2019. He explored the campus and met alumni.
“He’s grown up hearing stories about the school,” Jim Pool said. “Some of those stories probably made him want to go. I’m super proud of him. I’m excited for him. I believe he will go further than me.”
With limited school breaks, Pool said his son leaving is “bittersweet.” They are close and enjoy traveling together and hiking, he said.
“We have many interests in common and enjoy one another’s company,” he said. “We enjoy our relationship.”
While he is not sure what his major will be, Elijah Pool is excited for his future.
“I’m also looking forward to simply just serving my nation and make it a better place.”
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Renaissance Vineyard Celebrates 100 Years in Ferndale (Oct. 3, 2018)
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