Approximately 12,000 apply annually to attend the academy.

John Maune, a senior at Hannibal High School, will soon be a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Maune signed a letter of intent during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon in Korf Gymnasium.

"I'm feeling pretty good, I can't lie," said Maune, son of Neil and Christina Maune. "It feels great to finally see all this hard work pay off, not just for me but for everybody else who has helped me."

Among the handful of Hannibal School District #60 administrators in attendance was HHS Principal Ted Sampson.

"It's a pretty exciting moment," he said. "It's the first time I have been lucky enough to be a part of something like this since I have been a teacher or administrator."

Sampson said the U.S. Army will be getting one of Hannibal High School's finest.

"John is a great kid. He has worked hard," he said. "Our students make us proud every day, but this is one of those next-step occasions that we don't get to see very often."

Also in attendance Tuesday was U.S. Army Maj. Ray Koenig.

"John has a very bright future ahead of him," he said. "The Hannibal community, Hannibal High School and his family should be very proud."

Koenig said Maune is one of a select few to gain admission to the academy, which annually receives approximately 12,000 applications from those seeking admission to West Point.

The achievement is a testament to Maune’s hard work and leadership abilities, academically and athletically, Koenig said.

While Maune explored other college options, there was never a doubt which school was at the head of his list.

"West Point was always number one for me," he said. "I had other ideas just in case West Point did not work out, but I knew that West Point is where I wanted to be and where I wanted to go."

Maune said attending West Point will give him the opportunity to fulfill this goal in life.

"I'm passionate about helping others and for me West Point will allow me to help as many people as I can," he said.

Maune will head to West Point with the idea of making the U.S. Army his home for the foreseeable future.

"I am committed to making the Army a career," he said. "I'm hoping to stay in as long as they will let me."