Peter Ticktin, Class of 1964
My performance in junior high school was in the low range of middle. My father wanted me to go to a private school so that I could be accepted into Columbia University, his alma mater. When I took the entrance exams at a major prep school in Manhattan, I did not feel that I belonged among the “snooty”. Therefore, I opted for NYMA as I correctly believed that the uniforms would tend to neutralize the class differences of the students. I did not know how tough it was going to be. Had I known, I might have thought twice about that decision. Fortunately, I chose NYMA where that toughness changed me from being a boy to a man. At the young age of 18 I knew I needed to learn how to fight to win, no matter which battle. My whole adult life has been about pursuing my dreams and standing up for myself; to fail, to win, all without fear. I have had a successful and adventurous life. For this, I thank NYMA and my parents for letting me go there.
-Peter Ticktin, Class of 1964, Trial and Appellate Attorney, entrepreneur, inventor, farmer, still a cadet
Juan E. Billini, Class of 1983
NYMA shaped my life for the better in so many ways. The academy prepared me for college and most of all for life after college. My experiences at the school have been the foundation of my professional and personal life. When asked by others about NYMA I always say, "It’s the best military school there is." That alone defines the school. It’s a place where words like leadership, honor, integrity, excellence, and a never-ending pursuit of knowledge are instilled in cadets for the rest of their lives. I was only asked to write a short paragraph, but I can write a book on the experiences and friendships I developed at NYMA. Waking up daily at 5:00am to the sound of the officers and ranking cadets getting us out for PT, marching in cadence to the mess hall for breakfast, and taps at night followed by a visit from out TAC officer, Captain Vega. He would check on us during study time in the barracks and make sure we were alright before lights-out. The school not only built me up academically, but it built me up spiritually and helped to shape my character. General Douglas MacArthur gave a farewell speech to the Corps of Cadets at West Point on May 12, 1962. He shared about how USMA helped form who he was and how his thoughts were always with the academy. I will always feel the same way about NYMA.
-Juan E. Billini, Class of 1983