"It was just very overwhelming to see all of our sisters -- us just standing there in solidarity," cadet Jabreal Arrington told NBC News.
"I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn't do it initially that yes, I can," senior cadet Stephanie Riley told CNN. "And not just, yes, I can. I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren't actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group."
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As inspiring as the photo was, many of the cadets said they’ve felt isolated. In most cases, the women were among the few African Americans in their classes.
“It hasn’t always been pretty,” cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker said. “There are some moments here where you feel like, ‘Am I worthy? Do I deserve to be here?’”
"I definitely struggled sometimes, because sometimes I'd be the only woman of color, or even woman in general in my classes," cadet Bria Errington told NBC News.
Before 1976, women were not allowed to attend West Point. In 1980, 62 women graduated as part of the first co-ed graduating class. In 2014, West Point created the Office of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity for inclusion outreach initiatives.
Graduates from West Point are commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and serve on active duty for five years. In the first year after graduation, they attend a Basic Officer Leader Course for general information and training, according to the West Point website.