Archive for Wednesday, December 15, 2004

THS student nominated for academy

December 15, 2004

Some high school students aren't sure where they want to attend college or what their major will be until they're close to graduation.

Don't include Jake McGhee's name on that list.

The Tonganoxie High senior has known since his freshman year that he wanted to be involved in the military.

McGhee recently found out that he is a nominee for a prestigious honor -- appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., chose McGhee as one of his 10 nominees for an academy appointment.

"It takes a nomination from Congress and you have to apply through the academy itself," McGhee said. "This is just half of it, but it's really difficult to get this far."

¢ Students nominated for U.S. Air Force Academy appointments include Jacob McGhee, Tonganoxie, Daniel LeBlanc and Saras Yi, both of Leavenworth, James Griffith, Lansing.

¢ Those nominated for Military Academy appointments are: Thomas Bazemore, Leavenworth, and Scott Schultz, Lansing.

¢ Thomas Hastings, Leavenworth, was nominated for a Naval Academy appointment.

¢ Joseph Sebes, Lansing, and Jonathan Wilson, Leavenworth, were nominated for Merchant Marine Academy appointments.

Since his sophomore year, McGhee has been filling out paperwork after paperwork and has taken several physicals, but this is something he has wanted to do for some time.

There are a few other people who an applicant can go through for consideration, such as the vice president, but McGhee was fortunate to receive a nomination from Ryun.

"I've always wanted to serve my country and I was trying to think of the best way to do that," McGhee said. "I think I have a lot to offer.

"The best way to do it would be through the academy and get an education -- improve body and mind. That's the approach I want to take."

McGhee is in the National Honor Society, Chieftain Singers and has been in many musicals at the school, most recently "Annie Get Your Gun." He also at one time was involved in forensics and finished his soccer career at THS in October.

At Air Force, students must be involved in some sort of physical activity. So whether it's a varsity sport or intramurals, McGhee would be involved in athletics. The senior has some boxing experience under his belt along with soccer, so he has at least two options if he is accepted.

McGhee, who wants to major in electrical engineering, also applied with the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., but was not chosen to be an Army Black Knight.

Now he's hoping to be an Air Force Falcon, but McGhee will have to play the waiting game. He could be accepted as early as this month or as late as August.

Learning his fate in August doesn't give an incoming freshman much time to prepare -- especially if he isn't appointed to the academy.

But that won't be a problem for McGhee. He has everything planned.

If he doesn't attend Air Force, McGhee will attend Kansas State University. He already has spoken with someone in the Army and Air Force ROTC program at K-State.

If he went to Manhattan, McGhee could have a three-year scholarship, including $3,000 his freshman year.

Whichever college he attends, McGhee knows he's had some help along the way preparing for his future.

The senior said he received a lot of help with paperwork from THS teachers, some of whom sent letters to Ryun themselves.

"I definitely want to thank them," McGhee said.

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