Four seniors received nominations for appointments to the U.S. Military Service Acadamies from Republican Rep. George Holding in the 2nd Congressional district, which includes much of Wake County and portions of surrounding counties.
Seniors Nick Kelley, Jonathon Hughes, Jennifer Nguyen and Collin Townsend each received nominations. With a nomination, students can then apply to the academies in hopes for acceptance.
The four service acadamies include U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD; the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, King’s Point, NY. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require congressional nominations.
Whether accepted or not to an academy, congressional nominations are an accomplishment in themselves because numbers are limited. A representative to congress is limited to five attendees at each academy at a time.
“It is an honor and a privilege. It’s step one to being admitted into the school. It’s basically 75 percent of the application,” Townsend said. “It’s honor to just been considered for application. If I don’t get in, then it’s still been a pleasure grinding these past five years, preparing myself physically, mentally and academically for military service at the academy.”
According to Townsend, a select population of students apply, with even fewer receiving actual applications.
“15,000 a year to the academy itself. Only about 4,000 are nominated and of those 4,000 around 1,200 are accepted.”
Hughes felt a mix of emotions upon discovering his admission.
“I knew I had news from the academy when I woke up, checked my phone, and saw two emails addressed from Colorado. I was extremely nervous to read them, but I was soon filled with excitement, pride, and relief on learning of my acceptance,” Hughes said. “Sharing the news with my teachers, friends, and family was the best part, as they were just as invested and hopeful as I was. I couldn’t have made it without such amazing support.”
In the end, Hughes hopes to contribute to the nation’s armed forces, and the Academy provides him the best opportunity to prepare for that.
Hughes said, “I have always pursued the challenging route seeking self improvement, and the United States Air Force Academy is my opportunity to refine my character, academics, leadership, and physical fitness. It offers a quality aeronautical engineering program and unparalleled opportunities in military training, glider soaring, and even skydiving. It is truly my best option to chase my dreams and serve my country.”