Stephanie Riley

WCBS 880

West Point Grad Among Class Of Trailblazing African-American Women

May 24, 2019 - 8:30 pm

WEST POINT (WCBS 880) – West Point’s graduating class of nearly 1,000 includes dozens of African-American women – the largest ever to leave the military academy as officers.

Among them is Stephanie Riley. When she came to West Point, she didn’t see herself as a trailblazer and the academy wasn’t even high on her list of choices.

“What really brought me here, ultimately, was a guidance counselor who told me I couldn’t do it,” Riley told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

That changed everything. Now Riley, who is from Jacksonville, is among the most diverse class to graduate from West Point. The group includes 34 African-American women.

“I didn’t really notice it about myself until I got here,” she said. “It was just like, ‘Oh, I’m the only one here.’”

She hopes to be an inspiration for young, black girls.

“I want her to think what I wish I saw, and that would simply be, ‘Oh that can be me too,’” she said.

And that guidance counselor who didn’t think Riley could succeed at West Point? Riley invited the counselor to her graduation.