VIDEO: Air Force Academy Graduation 2018

Posted at 5:41 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 07:41:26-04

(Above: Live stream of the Air Force Academy graduation)

Wednesday will be one of the busiest days of the year for the Pikes Peak region as people from across the county flock to Colorado Springs for the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony.

Before the day is over, the caps of nearly 1,000 graduating Air Force Cadets will fly through air. Graduation caps won’t be the only thing flying through the air, as the Air Force Thunderbirds will wrap up the ceremony with a performance.

One can only imagine the excitement cadets are feeling today as they move into a new chapter of their lives. News 5 was able to speak to one of those cadets and learn what her time at the Academy has taught her.

"One thing I really learned here is compassion and empathy," said cadet Noelle Heiser. "I don’t know everyone’s life and I don’t know their stories. It takes a lot of humility not to just assume you know what’s best for the people around you."

Noelle is one of the more than 900 Cadets that will graduate Wednesday. She was recruited by the school’s soccer team and said she just fell in love with the Academy. After working with other cadets on "Stand Up USAFA," a club aimed at combating sexual assault, she said she plans to pursue a career as a personellist.

"I got to the Academy and realized I wasn’t the best here and that was a really interesting thing for me to understand, but eventually I grew into my niche. I understood what I was good at and I learned to excel at those specific things."

The graduation ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., but organizers recommend getting there no later than 8:30 a.m. North and south gates will open at 6 a.m. All attending the ceremony must have a ticket to get in and there are restrictions to what you can bring. Food is allowed but must be placed in a clear bag and the only drinks allowed in are unopened water bottles.

The highly anticipated Thunderbirds performance should start around 12:30, following the ceremony. If you would like to watch the performance, there are several well suited spots around town, but remember you can’t stop on the highway to watch.

Many of the best spots to see the Thunderbirds performance are right off Northgate, coming out of the Academy. The Western Museum of Mining and Industry will host their ‘Picnic & Planes’ party, where for a $5 charge you can park and watch the show. Bass Pro Shops and CB Potts are also great places to view the show, but their parking lots will fill up quickly.

News 5 is streaming the graduation online, on our Facebook page, and on News 5 Now on 5.2. It can be found on all the major cable carriers at the following locations:

Comcast – Colorado Springs Channel 9, Pueblo Channel 364, Trinidad Channel 195

CenturyLink – Channel 6

TVision -Channel 9

Falcon Broadband – Channel 2

Beulah Land – Channel 5.2

Charter – Cañon City and Walsenburg Channel 7, Lamar and La Junta – Channel 12

Skitter – Channel 6

Horizon Broadband – Channel 105

Peterson – Channel 21

TDS Broadband – Channel 23