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Senior receives appointment to US Naval Academy

Senior Landon Kruer is relieved to finally have the college search process behind him and even more pleased to have received an appointment to his top choice, the U.S. Naval Academy. Landon received news of his appointment earlier this month and plans to major in marine engineering or naval architecture. He plans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy.

Landon said he has been interested in the U.S. Armed Forces since he was in sixth grade, partly because his grandfathers were both in the U.S. Army Reserves. Originally, his desire was to join the U.S. Navy, so he joined the Louisville division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a youth leadership development program sponsored by the Navy. He also attended a Naval Academy summer STEM camp.

He began setting his sites on the Naval Academy for college, especially after one of his cousins received an appointment. Landon said he feels more confident in his decision to attend the Naval Academy after talking with his cousin and hearing about his experience. He said his cousin has a similar personality to his, which boosted his confidence in the program.

“It’s good to hear from someone who’s like me, so I know I would like it,” Landon said.

As a member of the Baseball and Boys Tennis teams, Landon is used to being physically active, so the rigorous training paired with the intensive college program appeals to him, he said. He also has a strong patriotic streak.

Naval Academy graduates commit to serving 10 years as an officer in the Navy or Marines after earning their degree, and Landon plans to commit to the Marines. Although the Navy originally appealed to him, as he began looking into the different Armed Forces, he felt more drawn to the Marines for its more diverse career options protecting the country by air, ground, or water.

“You can get a little bit of everything in the Marines,” Landon said.

Landon also dreamed of flying planes for the Marines, but his recent physical revealed a red/green color deficiency in his eyesight of which he’d been unaware. The diagnosis required a medical waiver to get into the Naval Academy and prevents him from flying. Although he is disappointed he won’t be able to fly, he is thrilled to have his appointment to the academy and is open to other opportunities in the Marines.

“It was just a big relief,” Landon said of receiving the waiver and his official appointment. “Now I can stop applying to other colleges.”

Other appointments in recent years include Andrew Henderson ’20, Brigid Welch ’20, Brogan Welch ’18, Patricia Mattingly ’15, and Charmaine Solis ’14.

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Two receive Naval Academy appointments

The Class of 2020 has several notable achievements as the graduates head off to college in August, as noted in the previous eVision. Two of them are leaving even earlier — before the class celebrates its commencement — as they head off to the U.S. Naval Academy. Brigid Welch ’20 and Andrew Henderson ’20 head to Annapolis on July 1 and 2 for what is known as Plebe Summer in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. They are starting a two-week self-quarantine now in order to join their 1,200 classmates for two weeks of restricted activity and four weeks of intense training. 

Both said they are excited for the opportunity and have been preparing for some time, first to be accepted and then to be physically, mentally, and academically ready to succeed. Andrew has wanted to attend the academy since attending a baseball leadership summer camp there in junior high.

“I was impressed by how the midshipmen and the coaches there carried themselves with integrity and just the dedication I saw in that short amount of time, so ever since then I’ve wanted to attend,” he said.

From his freshman year, Andrew said, he was determined to keep his grades up as he participated in various sports to stay physically fit. The summer before his senior year, he was accepted into the academy’s summer seminar, which gave him a taste of the physical activity and discipline required of the program — and furthered his desire to attend.

 

“I knew it was very competitive to get in, so I just tried to focus on staying strong in school,” he said. “I participated in varsity athletics because the physical (aspect) is one of the things they try to develop as well as the mental.”

Additionally, he said, participating in the newly formed Honor Council also helped him prepare with its focus on honor and integrity, two important qualities emphasized at the academy.

Brigid, whose parents both were in different branches of the military, has had a longtime desire to follow in their footsteps. Her brother Brogan ’19 shares that attitude and received his appointment to the academy last fall. He will be a detailer during Plebe Summer and will be one of the staff shouting instructions and encouragement at the freshmen, although not likely Brigid or Andrew’s unit.

Brigid attended the Naval Academy Summer Seminar last summer as well as seminars for the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force to help her decide which academy she wanted to attend. She applied to and received appointments from all three last fall and ultimately chose Navy for several reasons. First, the Naval Academy was her favorite among the three, and it still gives her an opportunity to become a pilot, should she decide on that route. Additionally, she will have the chance to become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps after receiving her college degree.

“It gives me a lot more opportunity to go in many different directions, so that was probably the biggest deciding factor,” Brigid said.

Brigid said she is looking forward to being part of the Naval Academy community as well, thanks to things her brother has shared with her from his experience.

“I leave in two weeks to go do some of the hardest work that I’ll ever do with a bunch of people I’ve not known, but if you ask me in eight weeks, they’ll be my best friends,” she said. “So it’s just the bond you make with those people.”

She also has followed advice her brother gave her since she learned of her appointment last fall, starting with increasing her physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and studying the academy’s mission statements, which also led to her improving her self-discipline. Like Andrew, she has been preparing throughout high school in various ways, including taking AP and honors classes while participating in three sports in order to develop her time management skills.

“I challenged myself to do as much as I can and also exceed in all those areas,” Brigid said. “I’m ready as I can be. … No one will be fully prepared for what the academy throws at you, but I think I’m on the right path.”

Brigid and Andrew will be purposefully placed in separate units, but they each said they will take comfort knowing the other one is going through the same intense activities. 

Other recent alumni who have graduated from the Naval Academy include Brendan Jones ’07, Charmaine Solis ’14, and Patricia Mattingly ’15. It is a significant achievement for a school our size to have two appointments to the prestigious military college in one year following one the previous year.

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Seniors receive national honors, one a USNA berth

Seniors Adam Garcia, left, and Brogan Welch are National Merit Scholarship Commended Students

Congratulations to seniors Adam Garcia and Brogan Welch, who were recently named 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students. This is the second highest national academic honor a high school student can receive and is based on results of the PSAT test they took last fall as juniors.

Adam had a lead role in the recent Fall Show and has been in the Spring Musical cast the past three years. He is a member of Quick Recall and Star Wars Club. He also is a Boy Scout and has recently completed a project to apply for the rank of Eagle Scout. He is applying to Indiana University and the University of Louisville and major in linguistics. Adam also was named a 2017-2018

Adam plays the role of Bill Slank in the fall show.

National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar for excellence in academic achievement. The NHRP recognizes the top 2 percent of the high scores of all of the Hispanic students in the United States and its territories taking the PSAT in their junior year. The students also have to carry a 3.5 GPA and have one-quarter Hispanic heritage.

Brogan is a Football player and a member of the National Honor Society, Science Bowl Team, Math Team, Pro-Life Club, and Swimming team. He recently learned he was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy and plans to major in computer science. He hopes to have a career in the Navy as a cyber-warfare officer. Next fall, he will be the third Providence alumni at the academy, joining current college juniors Charmaine Solis ’14 and Patricia Mattingly ’15, who also plays volleyball on the academy team.

Adam and Brogran said they were honored to be named Commended Students, but the other news they received was even more thrilling. Adam said of his two honors, he is proudest of the NHRP Scholar award because it is an honor as someone of Hispanic heritage to achieve that level of success.
“I’m representing my heritage,” he said. “I’m showing that if you seek the opportunities, if you put in a lot of work to gain education and skills – like my father did – and if things turn out nicely, it’s possible to” have a better life.

Brogan said the National Merit award is a testament to how much he has overcome, since he was

Brogan is a linebacker on the Pioneer Football team.

thought to have a learning disability in first grade. But a new school and a teacher that inspired him to fall in love with reading turned things around for him, he said. The Naval Academy acceptance is almost overwhelming, he said, since it has been his goal since his freshman year to gain admittance to the select military school.

“It’s like it wasn’t real, and I had to reread the email several times to be sure,” he said. “That’s been my goal for four years and to actually achieve it – it’s crazy.”

Commended student status means that from the more than 1.6 million juniors who took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last fall, these two are among the top 50,000 scorers, who are recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

Last issue, we recognized senior Kaleb Dunn, who was named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist for his 2016 score on the PSAT.

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