MASSENA - Two Massena High School seniors are in waiting mode to see if they’ll be attending military service academies this summer.
Jeremiah Reagan was nominated by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, for attendance at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Connor Paquin was nominated by Mr. Owens for attendance at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
“It’s definitely a waiting process,” Mr. Paquin.
Mr. Reagan said they had to apply to Mr. Owens for nomination to their respective academies. They had to fill out “tons of forms,” have a teacher recommendation and go through a physical, he said.
“It started last January,” Mr. Paquin said.
Both students said that, after their application process was complete, it was a matter of waiting for Mr. Owens to announce who he was nominating for the academies.
“You knew he’d give his appointments in January,” but didn’t know who he would be nominating, Mr. Paquin said.
He said the idea of attending the U.S. Naval Academy came from a family member. He also had a friend who went into the U.S. Coast Guard.
“My uncle had brought it up to me. I was looking into the academy then,” he said.
One of the things that intrigued him, Mr. Paquin said, was the teamwork aspect, something he was accustomed to in sports.
“I wanted aviation in the Navy. There was the Marine option too,” he said.
Mr. Reagan said he decided to apply for the U.S. Air Force Academy after reading about it on the Internet.
“I stumbled upon the idea online and it interested me. It’s a great education. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I’ve always wanted to fly,” he said.
The nomination by Mr. Owens doesn’t mean attendance at the academies is a given.
“Getting our nomination gives you a big boost,” Mr. Paquin said.
He and Mr. Reagan said they should know in the next couple of months if the military is in their future.
“Hopefully within the next two months. The deadline was by April 15. It’s in the school’s hands now,” Mr. Paquin said, noting they would need to be physically, academically and mentally qualified for attendance.
If selected, it wouldn’t be long after graduation that the two students would be heading to their respective academies.
“Right after graduation,” Mr. Reagan said. “The summer is like a boot camp to get ready for the first year.”
Mr. Paquin said he’s already learned what that would be like during an interview process.
“You’re nervous, but excited,” he said.
All together, Mr. Owens, a retired Air Force captain, nominated six New York students for the U.S. Air Force Academy, eight - including Noah Whalen from Colton and Hunter Tuttle from Russell - for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 10 for the U.S. Naval Academy and two for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.
To earn the nomination of their member of Congress, students applying to service academies must submit a detailed application and meet eligibility requirements set through statute and regulations issued by each academy. Students can apply for a congressional nomination to study at the United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy, and the United States Military Academy.
“These young men and women reflect the upstanding character and strong work ethic of New Yorkers,” Mr. Owens said in a statement. “I am excited for the opportunities that await those selected to attend a service academy and earn commissions as military officers. I wish all of these students success and thank them for their commitment to serve and defend our nation.”