Forged by the sea

Jennifer Nguyen accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy


Jada Caldwell, News Reporter

Senior Jennifer Nguyen was recently recognized by the U.S. Naval Academy Admissions Board as that outstanding “1,000 out of 16,000” accepted to attend.

Nguyen wants this opportunity to hone what she has learned and ready herself for what she hopes will be a future as a lieutenant stationed in South Korea.

When Nguyen first learned of the opportunity, she was not expecting to get accepted.

“I was in complete shock. I had an interview with the Naval Academy person because it’s mandatory. He told me people who have interviews after Halloween don’t usually get in,” Nguyen said. “I was like ‘what the heck’ because my interview was scheduled for November. I was super scared and freaked my parents out. When I got accepted, I was just like ‘thank the Lord.’”

Nguyen believes always trying her best, attending summer programs, remaining involved in her community and participating in JROTC as well as cross country and track is what led her to this moment.

Nguyen got her start in JROTC on a whim, but quickly grew to love the course.
“I joined freshman year and it built up from there. They told me it’s either P.E. or ROTC, and I just wanted to try ROTC because I didn’t want to take Health again. I fell in love with it, and just that environment really sparked an interest,” Nguyen said.

As she progressed in the course, her well-roundedness and good character earned her the respect of those who taught her.

“I am extremely proud of her selection and her accomplishments. She is a student who set a goal and has worked extremely hard balancing her high school career to achieve this selection. I am honored to have been a part of her time here,” JROTC instructor, CSM, Ginger Cribb said.

Nguyen was further held in high esteem due to her work ethic and determination.

“I would use the word great to describe anyone. In Jennifer’s case I would use the word effective. She is effective because she simply just out works everyone else,” JROTC lead instructor, Lt. Col. Dimitri Belmont said. “You may be taller, faster, stronger than Jennifer, but you’re never going to out work Jennifer. That’s what makes her most effective.”

Going forward, Nguyen has the support of her loved ones, her “biggest impact.”

“They’ve always supported me in whatever I want to do. Even in the Navy and military in general, it’s intimidating.

They don’t want to send their only daughter off, and they’ve just always supported me, pushing myself to become a better leader,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen believes she’ll be able to stand out and thrive at Annapolis this summer.

“Being a girl in the armed forces, especially the Navy, makes me stand out. Also, being a really short, female of color, I kind of want to go in there pretending like I can’t do anything when I can. I want to surprise them,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen is looking forward to meeting new people and participating in all the different traditions held at the school.

Nguyen summed up her feelings and anticipation in two sentences.

“It’s definitely that nervous excitement kind of thing. It’s going to be super super tough academically and physically. But I am trying to prepare myself the best I can before I go off.”