By Muhammad Atef | June 11, 2021

High honor: Somerset Academy Miramar grad headed to West Point – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) – A Broward County student who has chosen to serve his country received more than his diploma on graduation day.

Cameras captured Colten Hoo as he walked up to the stage during Miramar Somerset Academy’s commencement ceremony, Thursday.

“I find it utterly fantastic,” he said.

Colten is not just talking about graduating from high school. He is thrilled to represent South Florida at an elite military institution.

“It is amazing that I get the honor of being accepted to West Point,” he said.

Achieving the high honor was not an easy task for Colten. It started with a nomination from U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“[I have] the awesome responsibility of knowing that I am sending an individual who has decided to dedicate their life, not just to public service, but defending our nation and potentially laying down their life in defense of our nation,” she said.

Colten’s parents, Christopher and Elisa Justine Hoo, said their hearts are filled with gratitude.

“This is so deeply heartfelt. We are so grateful for Debbie Wasserman Schultz for the nomination,” said Elisa.

The Hoo family has military service in their blood.

“There sure is family legacy. Christopher’s brother, may he rest in peace, was a serviceman,” said Elisa. “We have uncles who are Army dentists, and we also have my mother’s family, which is largely military, including generals.”

Though, for Colten’s parents, West Point seemed like the obvious choice, they said they are thrilled for their son.

“Elated,” said Elisa.

“I can’t imagine just – I’m so proud of him, I want to cry,” said Christopher.

The Hoos said the preparation journey is one they took as a family.

“He really dedicated heart and soul. I mean, the working out for the fitness assessment, he lost 55 pounds in this process,” said Elisa. “Absolutely incredible, and all attributed to Dad and his training.”

“When he needed that extra push, I was there for him,” said Christopher. “It was fun, because I had a lot more time to spend with him, and I’m gonna cherish those moments.”

“I’m confident today’s achievement will be the first of many,” said Wasserman Schultz.

As for what’s next, Colten does not know for sure, but he has an idea.

“I’m most interested in their space studies and their national defense [programs],” he said.

Even though Colten starts at West Point in the fall, he has plenty of time to choose a major. He said the decision does not even come for another year.

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