By JB Clark
TUPELO – Dozens of Northeast Mississippi high-schoolers and their parents acquainted themselves with the numerous military service academies and state ROTC programs Saturday at the Mississippi National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility in Tupelo.
The academy day program, hosted by U.S. Congressman Alan Nunnelee, was a way for students who are interested in attending a military service academy to get to know people in each program as well as the congressman who has to appoint students to the academies.
“It’s important that we have a day like this that allows the students in Mississippi to have a chance to visit with representatives from the service academies and ROTC,” Nunnelee said. “There are some incredible leadership opportunities and scholarship opportunities and it’s important that we get the two together.”
John Michael McFall of Corinth High School said the academy day was valuable in the process of applying to the U.S. Naval Academy.
“I’ve wanted to do this as long as I can remember and in February of this year I got really interested in the Naval Academy and applied for the summer seminar,” McFall said. “I got selected and got to go to Annapolis and spend a week there learning about the academy and I fell in love with it. This is awesome because Alan Nunnelee is actually here and I get to talk to him and his congressional staff in person. It’s a lot different from emailing and calling.”
McFall said if he is accepted to the Naval Academy, he will most likely pursue a career in aviation.
Gus Carroll of St. Andrews Episcopal School in Madison also is pursuing an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy where he hopes to eventually train to be a Navy SEAL.
“This is something I’ve wanted to pursue from the beginning but after today I feel like I have a better grasp,” he said. “I’m about to begin the application process.”
After hearing presentations from representatives of West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, The Citadel, the Merchant Marine Academy and the ROTC programs at University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, students were able to meet with representatives from each program while parents were able to meet with representatives of parent support groups.
This is the third year Nunnelee has facilitated an academy day.