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Congressman hosts Service Academy Day at Quantico

By Jeremy Beale/Staff Writer | Marine Corps Base Quantico | October 4, 2017

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Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --

More than 100 students flooded into the Alfred Gray Research Center aboard Quantico Sept. 16 to listen to Representative Rob Wittman, First Congressional District of Virginia and representatives of various service academies speak about the admission process and receiving nominations from their district congressmen.

Each year Wittman has the privilege of nominating a limited number of young men and women to attend the service academies, thus beginning their journey into military service.

High school and middle school students joined by parents and guidance counselors were provided with a comprehensive overview of the United States service academies and respective admissions processes.

“Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t make it or try to take your mind off the goal in front of you,” Wittman said. “Remind yourself daily of your commitment to your purpose in life and the call from this nation which you have answered.”

As students sat in front of great men and women who fought for their nominations years before them, each student listened attentively and took notes in preparation for the lengthy process ahead.

There were representatives from the United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy (USMA, also known as West Point), Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

Among the representatives in attendance, there was one common theme expressed to the students in attendance—they would have to make the decision for themselves—their parents, teachers and counselors could not do it for them.

“Ask yourselves why you are here, why you want to be a part of these academies, what drives you and makes you different from the hundreds of thousands of students bidding for acceptance,” former Capt. Kim Sullivan, USMA representative said.

Wittman had asked the students to do something different and take the initiative to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by excelling in their SAT/ACT scores, taking advanced placement courses to challenge themselves, boost their grade point average, be a leader in their schools, communities and sports teams—but most importantly make an impact on those around them.

“Many of you have never failed up until this point,” Wittman said. “Make no mistake, these academies will push you to fail, but they will also teach you how to react to failure, learn from it and furthermore strengthen your leadership capabilities.”

According to Forbes, four out of five of the academies are ranked among the top 50 universities in the nation, out of 650 universities, with USNA and USMA ranked in the top 25.

Jan. 1 is the day the application process starts for high school seniors; however, most high school seniors began seeking nominations from their congressmen at the end of their junior year.

Few things were more inspirational than the high school students gazing upon their potential future as USMA brought with them Cadet Andre Michelle.

Michelle had received a nomination from Wittman four years prior to the event after attending Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School located in Dumfries, Virginia.

“Going to USMA was a breath of opportunity,” Michelle said. “At these institutions you will have the opportunity to learn, lead, travel and be inspired by all they have to teach you. Your character will be transformed and you will receive a more holistic idea of what it means to challenge yourself.”

Michelle believes at the academies the students will be put in some of the toughest places this world has to offer as each academy places them through the crucible, strengthening their mind, body and character.

“An academy will prepare you for the ultimate test of leadership,” Michelle said. “That moment when you hold the responsibility of leading a group of men and women, while also holding their lives in your hands.”

However, according to Michelle, this is something each individual student has to figure out for themselves—whether they want to lead or not.

Michelle claims he wasn’t there to speak to the parents in attendance, but to the young men, women and children who aspire to be future leaders of change—troops within the nation’s military.

If you fall within Wittman’s district, mail application packets to: J. Schumacher, academy coordinator, 6501 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite 102, Mechanicsville, Virginia, 23111 by Oct. 31.

If you have questions about the application process call 804-730-6595 or visit www.house.gov/wittman.

If you need help finding your district representative visit, www.house.gov/representatives/find and provide your zip code in the search engine. Each representative may have different application criteria for their nomination process.

Wittman’s packet should include:

Transcript:
• Your course listings and grades through the end of your junior year,
• Current Grade Point Average,
• Class rank (if provided by your high school),
• SAT/ACT scores (if provided by your high school),

Extracurricular:
• Special awards and honors with dates.
• School and outside club memberships and activities, noting leadership positions and honors received, with dates,
• Employment, both after school and in summer, with dates and hours per week.
• Volunteer involvement, with dates and hours per week,
• School athletics (note captain, varsity letter, MVP, All-League, etc.) with dates,
• Out-of-school recreational athletics, with dates,

Three signed letters of recommendation:
• One letter from a high school counselor, teacher or principal,
• Two additional letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, employers or someone who knows you well.

300 word personal essay:
• Essay on why you want to attend a U.S. service academy,
• Title essay - “Why I Want to Attend a United States Service Academy.”

Each year Wittman has the privilege of nominating a limited number of young men and women to attend the service academies, thus beginning their journey into military service.

High school and middle school students joined by parents and guidance counselors were provided with a comprehensive overview of the United States service academies and respective admissions processes.

“Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t make it or try to take your mind off the goal in front of you,” Wittman said. “Remind yourself daily of your commitment to your purpose in life and the call from this nation which you have answered.”

As students sat in front of great men and women who fought for their nominations years before them, each student listened attentively and took notes in preparation for the lengthy process ahead.

There were representatives from the United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy (USMA, also known as West Point), Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

Among the representatives in attendance, there was one common theme expressed to the students in attendance—they would have to make the decision for themselves—their parents, teachers and counselors could not do it for them.

“Ask yourselves why you are here, why you want to be a part of these academies, what drives you and makes you different from the hundreds of thousands of students bidding for acceptance,” former Capt. Kim Sullivan, USMA representative said.

Wittman had asked the students to do something different and take the initiative to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by excelling in their SAT/ACT scores, taking advanced placement courses to challenge themselves, boost their grade point average, be a leader in their schools, communities and sports teams—but most importantly make an impact on those around them.

“Many of you have never failed up until this point,” Wittman said. “Make no mistake, these academies will push you to fail, but they will also teach you how to react to failure, learn from it and furthermore strengthen your leadership capabilities.”

According to Forbes, four out of five of the academies are ranked among the top 50 universities in the nation, out of 650 universities, with USNA and USMA ranked in the top 25.

Jan. 1 is the day the application process starts for high school seniors; however, most high school seniors began seeking nominations from their congressmen at the end of their junior year.

Few things were more inspirational than the high school students gazing upon their potential future as USMA brought with them Cadet Andre Michelle.

Michelle had received a nomination from Wittman four years prior to the event after attending Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School located in Dumfries, Virginia.

“Going to USMA was a breath of opportunity,” Michelle said. “At these institutions you will have the opportunity to learn, lead, travel and be inspired by all they have to teach you. Your character will be transformed and you will receive a more holistic idea of what it means to challenge yourself.”

Michelle believes at the academies the students will be put in some of the toughest places this world has to offer as each academy places them through the crucible, strengthening their mind, body and character.

“An academy will prepare you for the ultimate test of leadership,” Michelle said. “That moment when you hold the responsibility of leading a group of men and women, while also holding their lives in your hands.”

However, according to Michelle, this is something each individual student has to figure out for themselves—whether they want to lead or not.

Michelle claims he wasn’t there to speak to the parents in attendance, but to the young men, women and children who aspire to be future leaders of change—troops within the nation’s military.

If you fall within Wittman’s district, mail application packets to: J. Schumacher, academy coordinator, 6501 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite 102, Mechanicsville, Virginia, 23111 by Oct. 31.

If you have questions about the application process call 804-730-6595 or visit www.house.gov/wittman.

If you need help finding your district representative visit, www.house.gov/representatives/find and provide your zip code in the search engine. Each representative may have different application criteria for their nomination process.

Wittman’s packet should include:

Transcript:
• Your course listings and grades through the end of your junior year,
• Current Grade Point Average,
• Class rank (if provided by your high school),
• SAT/ACT scores (if provided by your high school),

Extracurricular:
• Special awards and honors with dates.
• School and outside club memberships and activities, noting leadership positions and honors received, with dates,
• Employment, both after school and in summer, with dates and hours per week.
• Volunteer involvement, with dates and hours per week,
• School athletics (note captain, varsity letter, MVP, All-League, etc.) with dates,
• Out-of-school recreational athletics, with dates,

Three signed letters of recommendation:
• One letter from a high school counselor, teacher or principal,
• Two additional letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, employers or someone who knows you well.

300 word personal essay:
• Essay on why you want to attend a U.S. service academy,
• Title essay - “Why I Want to Attend a United States Service Academy.”

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