JROTC student soars

Jonathon Hughes selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy


Noah Pittarelli, Managing Editor

Senior Jonathon Hughes has his sights aimed high with a future in the Air Force. He has recently been accepted into the Air Force Academy in Colorado, due to a nomination from Rep. George Holding.

The Air Force Academy is a prestigious institution with a rigorous application process. Over 10 thousand students apply a year, and that is without the required nomination from a legal official. It is unmistakably competitive, as applicants are required to secure a nomination from officials or groups such as the Vice President, congressmen and women or military officials. Applicants also have to excel academically and be very involved inside and out of school.

Hughes credits one extracurricular activity in particular to his success, as he claims it truly has enabled him this opportunity to attend the Academy.

“Mainly it was my participation in JROTC and just going through all of the processes and staying focused, as well as just hard work,” Hughes said.

A mentor to Hughes, Command. Sgt. Maj. Ginger Cribb praises him for his personality and character, and claims this to have benefitted him most.

“This was a path that Jonathon set for himself, and he was focused and dedicated to this goal and has accomplished it,” Cribb said. “Jonathon is an outstanding leader, he is a well-rounded young man, he is academically strong, an athlete and a top cadet.”

Along with the USAFA there are other academies pertaining to each branch of the military. For Hughes, however, the USAFA was his true aspiration.

“All of the academies offer unparalleled capabilities and different character development or leadership development, but with the Air Force Academy, one would be the location, and the second would be the airmanship capabilities like flying that you can do there,” Hughes said.

Overall, Hughes claims to be humbled, excited and nervous when starting his first year in the academy.

“I know that the academic load is going to be a lot different than high school, and it’s going to be a lot to handle. Mainly it’s going to be basic training, which is 6 weeks in the summer, physical fitness and then they basically overload you with information that you have to memorize,” Hughes said.

As he gave tribute to his participation in the JROTC program, Hughes also establishes that it impacted him in more ways beyond his acceptance into the USAFA.

“JROTC mainly helped my character and leadership development. You kind of learn your own leadership style, and you learn to lead through following others,” Hughes said.

Cribb is very humbled with the success of her cadets this year, especially Hughes.

“I am extremely proud of the cadets’ accomplishment, I am excited that I could play a small role in these achievements. They have all worked so hard and it’s great to see the results,” Cribb said. “I have simply been his teacher and I hope mentor that has taught how to be a good leader, I have lead him to develop the skills that he already possessed.”

Hughes was very straightforward when asked of his plans before traveling to Colorado Springs this summer.

“My plans are simply to stay fit and stay focused,” Hughes said.

From an academic standpoint, Hughes has a distinct approach to his college studies.

“I plan on studying aeronautical engineering,” Hughes said.

Bound for the Air Force, Hughes has one thing in mind.

Hughes said, “I know I want to fly, I just don’t know what I want to fly.”