Manchester’s Milestones: Students Accepted To West Point & Princeton

James Cuber as the Commanding Officer during the yearly Naval Inspection. (Photo courtesy the Cuber family)

MANCHESTER – Manchester High School reached two milestones this past graduation: its first-ever graduate going to West Point, and another going to Princeton University.

“As the mayor and an alumnus of Manchester schools, I am thrilled to see two incredible Manchester students be admitted to two of the most prestigious and exclusive colleges in the world. While I don’t personally know either student, I am very proud and wish them the best on their bright futures,” Mayor Kenneth Palmer told The Manchester Times.

James Cuber, 18, will first be heading to the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, before entering The United States Military Academy, more commonly referred to as West Point.

Cuber is the first Manchester Township High School graduate to be accepted there.

“Since I was young kid, I wanted to join Army,” James said. “One of my friends, his dad is a West Point graduate. He told me about it. I wanted to go.”

James, who participated in the JROTC and varsity baseball, started his application process his junior year, securing a nomination by a local official, getting the needed teacher recommendations, as well his physical fitness test, entrance essay and other “stuff.”

James Cuber meets Senator Robert Menendez. The senator nominated Cuber for the academy. (Photo courtesy the Cuber family)

He was in Mexico with his family over spring break when he got the news he was accepted.

“I was very happy. It made the vacation so much better.”

His parents, Robert and Lorraine, said they are thrilled with their son’s accomplishment.

“We’re extremely proud. He’s been working on this since seventh grade,” Robert said. “It was one of those moments when we started crying when we heard.”

Kenzo Lacuarta, 18, has always been keen on science. The star athlete – track and field, cross country, and soccer – thought about pursuing a career in medicine because of his love of science.

On a whim, he applied to a spate of Ivy League schools. Of those, he was accepted to UPenn and Princeton.

While Kenzo Lacuarta isn’t the first MTHS graduate to get into an Ivy League school, he is the first to be accepted into Princeton University. (Photo courtesy Gerald Lacuarta)

He was at Barnes & Noble in Brick with a friend when he got the emails announcing each respective school’s decision. Lacaurta said the Ivies send out their decisions at the same time.

“I wasn’t expecting to get in. I was in the book store with another person to laugh at the rejections. I couldn’t really freak out because I was in public,” Kenzo said.

While he initially wanted to go away to school, Kenzo settled on Princeton because of its proximity to home and generous financial aid package he was offered.

“I do feel proud. I hope it shows the younger kids that it is possible to get into schools like that,” Kenzo said. “Hopefully it will put Manchester on the map.”

Kenzo’s father, Gerald, said he didn’t realize his son had even applied to Princeton, but was happy with the news.

“Of course we are very happy to hear about it. We were surprised. We didn’t know he was applying for Princeton,” Gerald said. “And of course we were very happy and very thankful. This is a good opportunity for him.”