Local students accepted to service academies

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo High School senior Michael Armour has long had an interest in the military.
He now will have an opportunity to follow that passion after being accepted into the Air Force Academy.
Armour is one of five Northeast Mississippi students who received prestigious appointments to service academies this spring. He will be joined in Colorado Springs, Colo., by Tupelo’s Matt Robbins, who graduated from THS last May.
Others to receive appointments are Corinth High School’s James Haworth (Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.), Oxford High School’s Lucian Duchaine (Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.) and Mantachie’s Dallas Schwake (Air Force). Schwake is a student at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Sciences.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the military, and I thought this was the best way to serve my country,” Armour said.
After narrowly missing being accepted into the Air Force Academy last spring, Robbins received a rare Falcon Scholarship from the institution and used it to spend the 2011 fall semester at Northwestern Preparatory school in California to position himself for this year’s successful bid. Both he and Armour were recently presented with their appointments by Lt. Col. Thomas Saulsberry during a ceremony at Tupelo High School.
Saulsberry said it is the first time in 16 years that he has presented appointments to two students from the same school in Northeast Mississippi.
Robbins and Armour have been training together. They will join fellow THS graduate Cody Calaway, who just completed his first year at the Air Force Academy.
“I always wanted to serve, and as I grew older, I understood the bigger picture of the military and serving your country,” Robbins said.
To receive appointments to the academies, students need to be nominated by a member of the U.S. House or Senate.
“I chose to do it because after coming to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, I quickly discovered a yearning inside me to serve others,” Schwake said.
Duchaine first considered the Naval Academy after it contacted him about running track at the school. He said he no longer plans to run there, but the institution seemed to be a good fit.
“After going through the application process, which was pretty difficult, it feels like the right place for me,” he said.
Haworth said his uncle first suggested he consider a service academy, and that prompted him to research the various institutions.
“It is an incredible honor and blessing to get to be there,” he said.

Click video to hear audio