Seago turned down West Point for Annapolis


Peyton Seago turned down West Point for the Naval Academy, but nothing so far can beat winning the Naval Academy’s annual boxing tournament.

Seago, 22, a 2nd Class Midshipman and junior at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, has always had a strong bond with his brother and sister, a bond he wanted to replicate as he moved forward in life so he chose the military, a calling where he can maintain that strong relational bond. 

Seago grew up in Madison and graduated from St. Andrews Episcopal School in 2017 and recently returned to speak to students about the Naval Academy, thanks to the Naval Academy Outreach Program. 

Seago said his family meant everything to him while he was growing up, and he always wanted to find a job, place or organization that mirrored that camaraderie. 

“I felt I needed to join the military and get that same kind of bond from fellow soldiers,” Seago said. “I wanted to take part in an organization, and relationships are the greatest currency you can have. The academy has provided me with the most worth and purpose I’ve ever had in my life.”

Seago received nominations to the Naval Academy from former U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. He was appointed to the academy in January 2018. 

Seago is currently majoring in quantitative economics at the academy and pursuing a minor in Spanish. 

Each student learns the ropes of navigation, seamanship, leadership, government, thermodynamics, and other base-level classes. 

Seago said that each student graduates from the academy with a bachelor’s degree in science and a minor in another subject if they wish. 

When it comes to memorable experiences, Seago fondly remembers getting to travel to places such as Cimarron, New Mexico to work at the Philmont Scouting ranch and also getting to go on submarines and ships.

Nothing can beat him winning the Naval Academy’s annual boxing tournament, The Brigade, in February 2020.

“I won the 165 weight class, and I got to do it in Alumni Hall in front of a bunch of friends, family and half the student body,” he said. “That was probably the coolest experience I ever had.” 

It won’t be until November that Seago will find out where he will be going after graduation, but he does know he’ll be a Marine Corps officer or a Naval officer. 

Seago said everyone who comes to the naval academy goes there for various reasons, whether it is to secure a job in the future, athletics or singing opportunities. He said that what’s important is staying at the academy. 

“People should stay here because the academy gives you the best opportunities to be the best version of yourself,” he said. “You’ll get the best tools for that here.”

He is the son of Paul and stepmother Gail Seago and Karen Seago.

Seago credited Col. Thatch Shepard, who was a mentor to him and instrumental in getting him to where he is today.

“He’s such a great guy and all he wanted was to see me become a leader,” Seago said. “I give him a lot of credit for being where I am.” 

Shepard, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2012, is now a Field Submissions Officer and the swim coach at St. Andrews. He graduated from the West Point Military Academy in New York in 1986 and worked with Seago closely for about two years.

“In Peyton’s senior year of high school, we worked very hard to get him into West Point” Shepard said. “We ultimately couldn’t pull that off because of a shoulder injury he had at the time.”

Seago attended Greystone Prep School in Texas, which is a school for students who are on the borderline of getting into academies such as West Point or the Naval Academy. And sure enough, after only a year at Greystone, Seago received an appointment to West Point and the Naval Academy. 

“I was on my way home from work, and I saw that he was going to be offered an appointment,” Shepard said. “He called me, and it was the most respectful call I’ve ever received. He told me he was turning down West Point and choosing the Naval Academy, and I was the happiest man alive at that moment.” 

Shepard said there are currently five student candidates from Mississippi that have offers to West Point, including three from the Madison and Jackson area. 

Coleman Dinkins from Jackson Academy, Phoebe Xu from St. Andrews and Leanne Beckman from Madison Central. 

Shepard said he believes Seago is the first student from St. Andrews to have had two options, West Point or the Naval Academy.

“He’s going to be a stud. I look forward to great things from him,” Shepard said. “Peyton, along with all of these kids, are going to be the future leaders of America. I’ll be following Peyton’s career until the time he retires.”

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