Kyle Kass’ family has a history of military service, which inspired him to attend West Point where he will be graduating this May. Kass is passionate about the environment, a lover of music, and proud to be from Coppell because of the community the city offered him. After West Point, Kass plans to attend the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to get his graduate degree.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Dallas, Texas and come from a military family. I spent my entire education within Coppell ISD going from Town Center Elementary, to Coppell Middle School North, and eventually to Coppell High School. I joined the band in 6th grade where I played the French horn which transferred to the mellophone during marching band.
How did you know you wanted to serve your country?
My family has a history of military service. Both my uncle and grandfather were career Army officers and had an immense influence on me. I saw how everybody in the family gathered around them. They brought joy and goodness into the world, so I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I’ve also had an incredibly blessed upbringing and I feel that it is my responsibility to give back to the country that has given me so much opportunity. Military service in defense of our nation and the ideals of freedom felt like a natural course for me.
What has been your favorite experience from attending West Point?
The ability to travel and interact with other branches of the military and allied nations. I had the opportunity to spend an exchange semester at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This was during my fall semester of my junior year. I also had the opportunity to go to Turin, Italy for 10 days as part of West Point’s Foreign Academy Exchange Program.
Tell me more about the Global Grant from Rotary International.
The Rotary Global Grant is an amazing opportunity that allows a person from the club’s city to attend graduate school anywhere in the world. I am specifically choosing to study for an MSc at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Ultimately, the grant is just another way that Rotary Club is giving back and supporting the city of Coppell. All rotarians that I have had the pleasure of meeting have been incredibly supportive, kind, and selfless in their pursuit of bringing their community up.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about the environment. I spent my summers working on my family’s farm and my weekends camping with friends. Nature is amazing and most of my fond childhood memories involve my friends and me in nature — either out camping once we could drive or biking around the parks of Coppell. Unfortunately, adverse climate effects do pose a threat to nature both domestically and abroad. I believe these adverse effects are a true threat to humankind, not just one nation. I have spent my undergraduate time researching sustainable energy generation and am currently working with the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment on the U.S. Army’s 2022 Climate Strategy.
Who or what inspires you?
My grandfather is the cornerstone of those who inspire me. He always had a smile on his face and brought joy to other people. However, at West Point there is no shortage of inspiring people. I have met people whose life stories and journey to West Point could be a New York Times Bestselling book whether it’s Max Delai from Fiji (he is a 4-year exchange cadet from the Fijian Army) or one of my best friends Charles Nyakundi whose parents emigrated from Africa. Every day I am reminded of how lucky I am to have been blessed with such a great upbringing in Coppell and motivated to continue serving and giving back to those who have given me so much.
What are some things that make you proud to be from Coppell?
The community. I still keep in contact with my friends from school. Although many of us are now spread out across the country for college we still keep in contact. Every time I come home to visit you can find me at George’s Coffee catching up with an old band friend. In almost every city I visit nowadays I know that I can reach out to a friend from high school and see a familiar face.
What kind of instrument do you play and how did you get into it?
Music has always been a part of my life. I started playing the recorder in elementary school at Town Center and then joined the middle school band in sixth grade. I started playing the French horn and guitar and eventually picked up the mellophone in my high school marching band. The great thing about band was the people. It was a group of friends that I spent countless hours with, whether it was practicing in the high school parking lot for marching band during 110-degree summer weather or on a six-hour bus ride to San Antonio for the state marching band championship.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
I want others to look back on my journey, your everyday student at Coppell High, and be inspired to live a life of service. It can be in service to anything either as a member of the armed forces, a public servant, or even just volunteering at your local charity or church. We determine the world we live in — we should strive to leave it a place of positivity and care between our fellow man.
What do you like to do in your free time?
At West Point my free time is rare, they like to keep us busy! In the few moments I do get, I enjoy working out as it’s both a great social activity as well as a way to challenge myself every day. I’ve also gotten into exploring New York City’s various restaurants with friends. From West Point, it’s a $10 train ride to Grand Central station and then we just explore all of the restaurants in Chinatown, Little Italy, or your local 99 cent pizza parlor. I’m proud to say that in my four years at West Point I haven’t eaten at the same place twice!
Please share anything else you would like our readers to know about you.
I am the West Point Army Mule Rider for the Class of 2023. That means I am in charge of taking care of the U.S. Army’s official Mule Mascots Range IV and Paladin. If you ever go to an Army Football game or parade there’s a good chance you’ll see me riding the mules!
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