Oakdale High School senior Logan Eaton was called to the office last week to take a phone call he will not soon forget. Eaton was one of 16 Central Valley high school seniors to receive a phone call from U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock). The nature of the phone call was to inform the senior he was one of the nominees named for the United States Naval Academy.
“The Valley is home to so many talented young people,” Rep. Denham stated in a press release. “Each of these individuals has demonstrated an admirable desire to learn and to serve our nation, and their contributions to their communities deserve recognition. I look forward to seeing them succeed far into the future.”
US News listed the US Naval Academy as having one of the Top 100 Lowest Acceptance rates for the 2013 fall school year. It was a reported 7.4 percent acceptance rate, tied with the equally prestigious Princeton University.
The opportunity and consideration took on new meaning for Eaton at the end of the 2013-14 school year when he was contacted by a Naval Academy Wrestling Coach. The contact was made, but the work was left to the student/wrestler.
The high school senior and varsity wrestler recognizes both the honor which has been bestowed upon him, as well as the process that still lies ahead. Unlike traditional colleges and universities, US Military Academies are in a class of their own. Prior to receiving the phone call last week, Eaton submitted a packet for consideration to Denham’s office. The packet included an essay, SAT/ACT scores, as well as his proof of Grade Point Average.
Nominees are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and are chosen based on factors such as academic achievement, leadership ability, physical aptitude, participation in extra-curricular activities and demonstration of character.
According to information provided by Rep. Denham’s office, students were nominated to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Each student seeking to attend one of the military academies must be nominated by a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator or the Vice President.
The senior reported the most nerve wracking part of the process thus far was the panel interview at Denham’s Modesto office two weeks ago.
“There were five people on the panel,” Eaton said of the 15 minute interview, noting the most memorable of the questions was on the topic of bullying and hazing.
“I said I would try to steer people away from groups that do that,” he said.
Now with the nomination submitted by Rep. Denham, Eaton must wait until spring to hear if Annapolis, Maryland is his future zip code. The nomination marks the halfway point of what could very well be a life-changing opportunity.
If accepted into the US Naval Academy, Eaton would spend four years attending the Academy, living in a dorm on campus and potentially wrestling there as well.
The teen and his parents visited the campus earlier this year in September.
“It was amazing,” Eaton said. “It was so cool back there. We saw a football game, I got to see the wrestling room and I spent a night in the dorms.”
Upon completion of the Academy, he would spend five years in military service.
As for long-term goals, the candidate shared his interest lies in pursuing a career as a stock broker or in the field of banking.
In closing Eaton shared he was grateful for the phone call from Rep. Denham and anxious to hear in the spring. In retrospect, with just a handful of months left to his senior year he said, “Getting into college is a lot of hard work.”
He is hoping that college experience includes some service requirements as well.
“It’s really the opportunities you get with it,” he said of the nine-year college and military commitment. “A lot of people and companies look for people who have graduated from there and want them to work for them.”