Zachary Anderberg, an alumni of Brookings-Harbor High School, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Saturday, May 22.
Anderberg earned a bachelor of science degree, with a dual major in Arabic and Persian. He presented his "capstone" project orally in Arabic, reviewing impacts Islam history in current Middle East issues. He is now fluent in seven languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and English are the others) and has lived on four continents; he expects to add to both those numbers within the next year.
Language, Anderberg says, is a crucial way to understand other cultures, and relate to people in a respectful way. His ultimate career goal is serving in the diplomatic corps of the U.S. government.
With graduation, Anderberg was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He had served 3 1/2 years as an enlisted member of the Army - mostly in Europe - before winning a military appointment to West Point. Most of his West Point classmates came to the academy right out of high school.
Lt. Anderberg is scheduled for further training at the Army Intelligence Center, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, over the summer, before taking up a post in the fall at the Military Intelligence Branch of Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
A week before graduation, Anderberg told the Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor that his path to West Point started in spring 2011, during his sophomore year at BHHS.
He met a Rotary team from Italy in a BHHS language class, inspiring him to ask questions in the BHHS counseling office about languages and international travel. That led to a club scholarship to the week-long Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, studying in Bolivia for his senior year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and earning a Rotary reference for his application to West Point.
"Rotary didn't just change my life, it saved my life," Anderberg told the club. Before the Rotary connections, he said he was feeling lost and trapped by his circumstances.
As a result, Anderberg plans to join a local Rotary Club near JBLM when he arrives in the fall "so that I can start giving back."
Anderberg also asked Rotary Club members Charles Kocher and Gerry Livingston Kocher to substitute for his family at graduation and commissioning events at West Point. "How could we say no?" said Charles Kocher.