Seniors Jones, Nappi Nominated to United States Airforce Academy

Trey Yamamoto, Reporter

     Every year, members of Congress nominates a set of individuals to the four United States Service Academies. No one sought an application to the Merchant Marine Academy and applicants were nominated to three colleges; the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. and the Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.. On Nov. 19, Congressman Ed Case released his nominees to the three academies, with Seniors Kaylee Jones and Noah Nappi both being nominated to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (USAFA). 

   “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and by becoming an officer, I can accomplish that. One only gets what they put in and even though the academy is a challenging and rigorous experience, I feel that’s what makes it such an effective school,” said Nappi.

  For both Jones and Nappi, the nomination process consisted of the submission of application documents along with an in-person interview. The nominations themselves were just a small part of the overall process, as they do not guarantee a spot at the academy. “It’s very similar to applying to a college; one must submit three letters of recommendation from a counselor, teacher and advisor or other teacher and submit test scores and transcripts. There is usually an essay question or a few short responses — they usually ask for a resume as well and a questionnaire,” said Nappi. Jones added, “The nomination is only a small piece of the puzzle. They will be sending out letters in March, letting us know if we have been accepted or not.”

     For the in-person interview portion of the nomination process, Congressman Case personally met with the nominees. There were 31 potential nominees interviewed throughout the decision-making process. “Although I was nervous, I thought the interview went really well and appreciated the fact that Congressman Ed Case himself interviewed me,” said Jones. Nappi added, “Being able to interview with Ed Case directly was a great experience. It wasn’t very long, but we discussed my reasons for wanting to attend a service academy and my plans for the future.” 

   By attending the Air Force Academy, both Jones and Nappi would be following in their fathers’ footsteps to enlist in the military. The experiences and exposure they had to these military programs inspired the seniors to join a military academy. “I first heard about the academy in Civil Air Patrol back in eighth grade and after visiting the campus last spring, it’s greatly inspiring. I have always loved aerospace and science and being able to serve as an officer along with that is unmatchable,” said Nappi. Jones added, “From a young age, I knew that I wanted to serve. I wanted to pursue a career as a pilot and USAFA seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

     Aside from completing the application forms and in-person interview, Jones and Nappi needed to prepare academically for this opportunity. There were many class requirements that needed to be completed as prerequisites before applying to the academy. “I took advanced courses at school and have been doing my best to maintain a high GPA,” said Jones. Nappi added, “(The requirements include) four years of each subject, two years foreign language and recommended one year of computer science course(s).”

    The classes and opportunities provided at MHS helped Jones and Nappi prepare for the application process. These classes pushed them to excel as high school students and made them stronger candidates for the nomination process. “I have taken AP classes and made sure to challenge myself throughout high school. Besides classes, a lot of my teachers and counselors have done a great job to prepare me; Mrs. Schrock and Mr. Enomoto have helped me with many parts of the application process,” said Jones. 

  Nappi added, “The courses at MHS most notably my time in marching band, have been able to prepare me for some aspects of the environment at USAFA. Our band’s disciplined and tradition heavy training is reminiscent of the structure at the academy. From our leadership structure to the mentality and four-year learning process, band has been able to prepare me for many of the expectations and challenges at a service academy.” 

     If she is accepted to USAFA, Jones plans to become a pilot and make it a life-long career to serve her country as an Air Force officer. As for Nappi, if he is accepted, he will likely be attending the academy for basic training in July for six weeks and starting classes in August.