WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Students from North Texas are working hard to attend U.S. Service Academies. Representatives from Congressman Mac Thornberry's office hosted a forum to educate young hopefuls on what it takes to be accepted.
Students from middle school and high school attended forum held in the Region 9 Education Service Center.
There are 5 academies in the nation and it is difficult to be accepted. Caden Warren, an 8th grader from Seymour Middle School, has already planned to pursue an education through the U.S. Service Academies.
It will take years of preparation, which is why his mom brought him to the forum. She said, "I think it's really good for them to have the chance to just be aware that there are more options out there than what's just here local. There are ways for them to get college paid for in the military academy."
Gold Star Officer Dr. Michael Ryan used to be a Principal of Wichita Falls High School. He said that in his years of education it was hard to inform students on their options for college. He said, "our councilors were so overwhelmed with all the different things the state has them do, that they couldn't investigate every school and the possibilities to get in." So, he switched careers and now travels the state recruiting for the Naval Academy.
Ryan said they receive over around 17,000 applications a year and only accept 11,000.
Representatives from Congressman Thornberry's office spoke highly on the prospects in the Wichita Falls area. There have been students accepted from Texoma in the past.
Rep. Thornberry's Deputy Director Paul Simpson said, "…fantastic young men and women from different athletic endeavors and different academic interests, but they want to serve our nation as an officer.…with Sheppard Air Force Base being in Wichita Falls, the Air Force Academy is very popular. So, we see some great candidates from this area."
Other students from across North Texas attended the forum. Sydney Reynolds from Valley View, Texas – which is over an hour and a half away – came because someone from her school joined a service academy. She said, "there was a girl from my school a few years back, Debbie Clifton, who went to West Point. I started looking into it and it was a really cool thing, and I decided that I would like to do the same thing as her."
Deputy Director Simpson said it is best to work on getting into an academy as early as possible. It will require excellent SAT and/or ACT scores and a nomination from a congressman, senator, the Vice President, or the President. Visit this website for more information.