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Austin High School senior Marquis Morris is West Point bound, but his ACT score will determine whether he enters the academy or its prep school.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Austin High School senior Marquis Morris is West Point bound, but his ACT score will determine whether he enters the academy or its prep school.

ACT score key to Austin senior’s plans for West Point

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

Austin High School’s Marquis Morris agreed to get homecoming photos with a friend after the game Friday night, but then he headed home to go to bed.

The senior had more important things on which to focus. He needed the rest for his second try at the American College Test on Saturday morning. It’s a test that could decide which path his future follows.

The senior needs to improve his ACT score from a 24 to a 27 to get into the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. If he doesn’t reach that magic 27, Marquis could go to the academy’s prep school.

Austin JROTC instructor retired Lt. Col. James Walker said Marquis can’t lose either way, and he could get into the academy even if he doesn’t get the scores he wants so badly. Marquis is the 12th Austin JROTC cadet to attend West Point.

Walker said Marquis is everything that the academy would want, including senior class officer, captain of the football team and JROTC battalion executive officer. He has excellent grades and a solid ACT score.

“He’s the kind of well-rounded student West Point is looking for in a potential cadet,” Walker said.

Add good looks, a quiet confidence with an ability to self-discipline himself, and one would have a hard time finding his flaws. His parents, Sonia and Leonard Morris Sr., often talk about how lucky they are that he’s avoided much of the teenage angst.

“He’s a young man with a lot of heart and passion after God,” his mother said. “He loves to dance, and he loves football. He’s very active in school, but he doesn’t talk a lot. He’s very gentle-natured.”

But Marquis isn’t perfect, his mother said. He gets so busy that he doesn’t always keep his room clean and sometimes he procrastinates on his chores. He’s also competitive.

“He puts a lot of pressure on himself,” Sonia Morris said.

Marquis said he tried not to put pressure on himself for the test, by telling himself that he’ll benefit either way.

“If I have to go to the prep school, that would give me a chance to grow and learn the ropes before I get into the academy,” Marquis said.

Both parents were in the United States Army, but Marquis wasn’t interested in the military until his junior year. His mother said he talked mostly about Georgia Tech.

Marquis said one of his pastor’s sermons and Walker talking about the opportunities that West Point offers made him reconsider the military and the academy.

“He (the pastor) talked about divine appointment, and you’re living God’s life, so don’t let fear stand in your way,” Marquis said. “I started praying and came to this decision.

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