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CHS grad Burris enjoying life at West Point
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David Burris is enjoying his new life away from Ceres.

Burris is a freshman at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

"It's a great place," he said. "You learn so much so fast."

Burris completed his first semester at the Academy on Dec. 16. He flew home on Dec. 17.

"It was a crazy week," Burris said.

"I was actually worried I was going to fail math but I got an e-mail from the professor and I passed with a C-plus. I don't have to go to summer school."

Burris is looking forward to spending time with some of his closest friends, including Ryan Rodriguez and Johnny Bridges, during winter break. Burris, Rodriguez and Bridges were teammates in high school. They were also camping mates.

"I want to try and snowboard," Burris said.

Living stress free will last for just several weeks. Burris returns to West Point and a busy schedule on Jan. 3.

This past semester, Burris woke at 6 a.m., attended class from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and studied from 7:30 p.m. to midnight daily. He received three meals per day.

Burris' course load included math, psychology, chemistry, military science, history and physical education.

"There's a lot of discipline there but it's not too bad," Burris said. "You can still have fun."

Burris went to every home football game, which is a requirement, and attended two away games, including the Army-Navy matchup in Philadelphia. Navy won big, 42-13.

"It was horrible," Burris said.

As part of the Big Brother-Big Sister program, Burris toured the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

"There's so much to do but you have to be selective," Burris said.

"You have to balance out the time."

In the late fall, Burris participated in intramural wrestling. He went undefeated.

"It wasn't very competitive but it was real fun," he said. "I won seven or eight matches."

Next semester, Burris plans to wrestle for the freestyle club team.

"The regular team is just too good," Burris said. "They have a lot of studs."

Burris graduated from Ceres High in May 2004. He was a member of the varsity wrestling team for three years.

As a senior, he just missed qualifying for the CIF State Wrestling Championships. Burris finished in sixth place in the 125-pound weight class at the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet. The top five advanced.

Burris gained admittance into West Point after being evaluated in several areas, including academic performance and physical aptitude. He received a nomination from Congressman Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced.

Burris reported to West Point for Cadet Basic Training in June. Classes started in August.

"It's real competitive," he said. "Everybody is trying to be the best."

Burris was also accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and Penn State. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier