By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Shrewsbury – Each year thousands of young men and women apply to one of the five United States military academies – the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Of those thousands, only 11 to 17 percent meet the requirements in order to be accepted. This year, five young men in the St. John's High School class of 2013 have joined that elite group.
They are: James Goljan, of Boylston, U.S. Air Force Academy; John Wick, of Shrewsbury, U.S. Military Academy; Connor Kurtz, of Lunenburg, U.S. Coast Guard Academy; and Evan Maranto, of Shrewsbury, and Matt Walsh, of Southborough, U.S. Naval Academy.
In order to be accepted at one of the academies a candidate must undergo an intensive application process that evaluates not only their academics but also moral and physical fitness.
All applicants, except for those applying to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, must also receive a nomination from the president, vice president, a U.S. senator or member of Congress.
A candidate also commits to serving in the armed forces for a certain period of time after graduating.
Wick noted that he had desired to enter the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) since his freshman year.
“My aunt and uncle spent a week at our house, and both of them were colonels in the Army and taught at West Point. They told me amazing stories about their lives in the Army and I knew I had to look into a career as an Army officer,” he said. “After some research I was hooked on West Point and knew it was the place for me. I went to West Point's summer seminar [last year] and loved it. I am very excited to serve my country and join the “long grey line.””
Goljan was also inspired by a relative, his brother, Christopher, who attends the U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“I had always wanted to learn how to fly and had a love for aviation, but I had never seriously considered making it a career until my brother went to the [Naval] Academy,” he said. “That is when I learned there was an academy for each branch of the military, and that I could potentially fulfill that desire to learn how to fly. I want to attend the [U.S. Air Force] Academy because I would like to do something in my life that I can be proud of. I am not sure whether this means taking a career in aviation, medicine, or even as an intelligence officer, but I know that through the academy I can accomplish great acts of service that I know will make me proud.”
Michael Welch, the St. John's headmaster, commented on the significance of the five students being accepted by the prestigious schools.
“We are extremely proud of these five young men.?During their four years at Saint John's, they represented themselves, their families and our school community very well.?Their desire and willingness to be of service comes as no surprise. They are impressive young men,” he said.