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Times Argus: Vt. students nominated for military academies

January 4, 2015
In The News

 For many of these young people, their career choice is in their blood.

High school seniors from across Vermont gathered Saturday at the State House for the U.S. Service Academy Nominee Ceremony to recognize their hard work as they seek admission to the country’s military academies.

The students have been nominated by a member — and in some cases, all three members — of Vermont’s congressional delegation, two of whom were on hand for Saturday’s ceremony.

“If you read the resumes of these young men and women, you would be proud to be a Vermonter,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. 

“Vermont has such a tradition of sending the best men and women to the military,” he said. “I think it’s because you bring the values of Vermont honesty and the values of Vermont patriotism.” 

All told, 24 students from as far north as Enosburg Falls and as far south as Rutland are seeking entry into the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, N.Y.

This year, no student applied to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. 

“When looking at the resumés and meeting with these young people, it’s amazing to see the excitement and the engagement in life, and the sense of community responsibility that you want to make your place a better place to live,” said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.

A representative of Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., read a letter on behalf of the senator: “To receive this nomination took years of hard work and dedication both in and out of the classroom. That same steadfast commitment will benefit you throughout your years at the Academy.”

Nominees include Nathanial Jones, 18, of Castleton. The Fair Haven Union High School senior was nominated to the U.S. Military Academy by Sanders. Jones said he was inspired to apply to the academy by his father, Michael Jones, also of Castleton, who recently did tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait with the Vermont National Guard.

“Watching my dad, I knew I wanted to do the same thing,” said Nathanial Jones.

“As a career military person, who wouldn’t be proud?” Michael Jones said of his son.

Rice Memorial High School senior Jacqueline Bartlett, 17, of Morrisville, also has military history in her blood. Among her many family members who previously served in the armed forces is William J. Knight, whose career in the Air Force included a stint as an astronaut.

“I’ve always admired military personnel and what they stand for,” said Bartlett, who has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy by Leahy, Sanders and Welch.

Gabriel Lajeunesse II, 18, of Northfield, is among the 5 percent of nominees to the U.S. Military Academy who received a Letter of Assurance, which states the Northfield High School senior and VAST student at Vermont Technical College will be admitted to the academy if he continues on his current path.

“My dad is in the military and lots of my family are in the military and I think everyone should serve,” Lajeunesse said. “We enjoy an amazing amount of freedom in this country and I think it’s important to help other people around the world who don’t share the freedom that we do.”

Renee Triller, 17, of Rutland has two older brothers who both attended the U.S. Military Academy. She decided to seek admission to West Point after visiting the school.

“It was the moment I walked on the campus and I saw the cadets and I knew I wanted to do this, because you don’t want to not reach your full potential,” said the Rutland High School senior. “You can wear heels and also kick butt.”

The other nominees included:

Alexis Avonda of South Burlington, Ryan Beauregard of Enosburg Falls, Elisabeth Brechbuhl of Norwich, Griffin Cannon of South Burlington, Jack Carnahan of Williston, Hudson Cox of Hartland, John Dabagian of Milton, Conner Gorman of Charlotte, Tipper Higgins of Williston, Joseph Hounchell of Cornwall, Thomas Jenkins of Quechee, Connor Knowles of Essex Junction, Conrad Koehler of Norwich, Daniel Krezinski of Middlesex, Matthew Larose of Fairfield, Elijah Leroux of Irasburg, Connor Loughran of Stowe, John McGuiness of Fairfax, Nigel Sarrazin of Colchester, and Zachary Weisinger of Lyndonville.