Naval Academy plebes participate in Herndon Monument Climb

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Students are building a human pyramid around a vegetable shortening covered monument, and it's all part of school tradition. 

Freshman students at the Naval Academy are slipping and sliding on the Herndon Monument on Monday to demonstrate the teamwork and perseverance they learned this year.

Each year, the plebes, or first-year students, need to climb to the top of the 21-foot-tall greased up monument, and replace a dixie cup with an upperclassman's hat. After completing this slippery task, the freshmen are no longer called plebes but 'fourth class midshipmen' instead. 

According to the U.S. Naval Academy's website, there is around 50 pounds of vegetable shortening applied to the monument by the midshipmen of the 1st Company.

The fastest it has ever been done was 1 minute by the class of 1972, but there was no grease. The class of 1998 took the longest at 4 hours and five minutes, but the dixie cup was glued and taped to the monument. 


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