“I Never Wanted To Cheat To Win”: Pressure, Honor, And Redemption
John Laurito came to West Point to play hockey. Growing up in Johnson, Rhode Island, in a big family, he felt that he just could not pass up the opportunity to attend the Military Academy. During the second semester of his Plebe year, he began feeling pressure as academics became tougher, and he realized that he had failed to apply himself as he should. Preparing for the term end exam in IT-105 (Computer Science), he felt that he would fail without cheating. During the exam, he cheated by using work from a friend’s email. When he later realized that he had not received credit for the course, he knew his cheating had been discovered. He was approached for clarification, and that night he determined that he would admit to the violation and take responsibility for his actions. After admitting, he entered the Special Leader Development Program for Honor (SLDP – H), beginning the process of fixing his character flaw and redeeming himself.
In this interview, he talks about the opportunities offered at West Point, the pressure he put on himself, and the decision to commit an honor violation. He explains how he cheated on the exam, and his immediate feelings of regret. He discusses how difficult it was to feel that he was a disappointment to others, and to be open about what he had done. He describes the SLDP – H process, and how it has helped him confront and rectify the character flaw that caused him to cheat. Finally, he examines Cadet perceptions about honor, and the SLDP – H process, and offers advice about what he has learned about the honor code and honorable living.