(PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo.) — The words ‘Army West Point Bound’ were emblazoned on a home in Pueblo County – inside, even more photos and achievements of recent Pueblo County High School graduate, Kenneth Grant Shorten.

Decorations outside of the front door that Mindy Waggoner put up.

“I have recently been appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point,” said Shorten.

The application process for the United States Military Academy West Point is one that Shorten described as long. On the desk in his house was an application checklist with the words ‘done’ written in big letters to signify when one task was accomplished.

Inside the house is the application checklist that Shorten followed when filling out his application.

“I had three essays that I had to write,” said Shorten. “I had to apply for a nomination from my district representative, which I did get… there’s so much qualification things [like] medically, athletically, financially. Like it’s just been a lot of hoops to jump through.”

Shorten beamed with happiness when asked to recall the day he found out he was accepted to West Point.

“And we just kind of, we all jumped up from the computer in the basement and screamed and had a ton of fun,” said Shorten.

Shorten points to pictures of his family and shared the constant support of his mother Mindy Waggoner.

While the application process was challenging, Shorten shared there was someone who made it a whole lot easier.

“She has been the biggest motivation, the biggest pusher,” said Shorten. “She’s there on my good days and my bad days. On my sick days, my healthy days, on her sick days. She’s there… She has been everything in the process and she means the world to me.”

The bond is crystal clear between mother and son, one that you can spot from miles away. Mindy Waggoner shared her immense pride for her son’s future.

Kenneth Grant Shorten and Mindy Waggoner smile together outside of the decorated home.

“It’s amazing. Extraordinary. I knew he was going to do something great,” said Waggoner.

When Shorten was going through the application process, Waggoner shared the doubt others had about applying to West Point.

“That was the one thing we thought was the most remarkable about the West Point application and process was so many people told us when they heard he was heading in that route, ‘well, you’re not going to be the valedictorian, you don’t have a shot,” said Waggoner.

Well, Shorten proved the doubters wrong as he was accepted to West Point.

“So the day that that email came was [a] weight off your shoulder,” Waggoner said. “Elation [and] amazement that he not only shot for the moon, but he hit it and it was extraordinary and still is to this day something we have a hard time wrapping our head around.”

An even bigger accomplishment is how Shorten will be paving the way for future Pueblo County Hornets. He was told he was the first to attend West Point from the school.

“The first as far as everyone. I mean, my principles told me that as far as… I’m the first,” Shorten said. “All my teachers have said as far as they’re aware. So I think I am the first Pueblo County Hornet.”

Joe Waggoner, Shorten’s stepfather, shared the immense pride he has in his stepson’s decision to serve our country.

“I couldn’t be more proud, you know, like I said, I’ve always had a lot of admiration for people who served in the military,” Joe Waggoner said. “I mean, you make a great sacrifice…and I think he’s ready for that.”

While leaving home can be challenging, Mindy Waggoner reassured her son of the love and support he always will have waiting for him.

“You’ve got nothing but the sky in front of you to achieve, and that your family’s always got your back,” Mindy Waggoner said. “We’re always right here waiting for you and supporting you.”

Pictures of Shorten while on the Pueblo County High School football team.

Over the years, Shorten has shined in Pueblo County athletics. He doesn’t want to hang up the football helmet and cleats just yet, and said he will be trying out for the West Point Black Knights football team.

A new moto now fills the household with excitement.

With the biggest smile on his face, Shorten said “Go Army, beat Navy.”