• Midshipman pitches service academies

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Midshipmen 1st Class David Christie, a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., spoke with Leavenworth High School Junior ROTC students Nov. 20 at LHS.
    As a member of USNA’s Opportunity Information program, Christie, a 2014 graduate of Lansing High School, was able to return home early for Thanksgiving so he could speak with local high schools about the opportunities the Naval Academy provides.
    When applying to the Naval Academy, Christie also applied to the other service academies, but had personal reasons for ultimately choosing the Navy.
    “My dad went to the Naval Academy and that was honestly a huge factor for me. Part of it was kind of to continue the family legacy,” Christie said. “But also at the same time, I felt that the Navy offers the most opportunities, especially the Naval Academy, because you can do literally anything you want. I feel like the Navy encompasses everything.”
    During his presentation, Christie briefed students on the opportunities available to midshipmen at Annapolis, including brigade services, the core curriculum, the daily schedule and different varsity, club and intramural sports offered. He also spoke briefly on cultural, musical, academic, religious and military professional extracurricular opportunities.
    There are 25 available majors, Christie said, separated into three different groups — engineering and weapons, math and science and humanities and social sciences. Christie said his nuclear engineering major has presented him with several opportunities.
    “What I really like about that program is that, when it comes to engineering we get to use a lot of equipment that actually most grad students couldn’t even use,” Christie said. “I actually got to use a subcritical nuclear reactor using plutonium and uranium last year in one of my labs. Then, this year in one of my mechanical engineering electives, we’re cutting metal samples, polishing them and setting them up underneath an electron microscope in certain ways to take pictures of the various small molecular grains that are seen.”
    Christie said there is also a chance, particularly in the midshipmen’s plebe year, to learn about the history and commemorations of the USNA, such as American Revolutionary War Naval Commander John Paul Jones.
    “The Naval Academy … (has) buildings named for specific people, or buildings where things are done a certain way to commemorate someone,” Christie said. “John Paul Jones’ dying words, were that he ‘didn’t want to part with the sea.’ They positioned his crypt in a sense that if he was to sit upright that he would be able to look straight out at the sea.”
    Christie said there is a financial benefit to going to the Naval Academy or any of the military academies.
    Page 2 of 2 - “When you go and you have an appointment, it’s a full appointment. It’s a full scholarship,” he said. “You don’t pay any tuition, you don’t pay room and board, you don’t pay for anything.”
    Midshipmen also receive a monthly stipend from anywhere between $100 and $600 for spending, depending on their class and grade, he said.
    In the process of applying, there are several parts to the application including medical qualifications, physical qualifications and nominations. However, the most important question Christie said, is “Why do you want to go to the academy?”
    “That’s always been the biggest question that either gets people in or not at all. My big recommendation of that is definitely write from your heart,” he said. “Don’t just say something that’s very cookie cutter because they see thousands of applications every single year, but if you write specifically why you want to come to the academy and why it really means a lot to you, it will stand out.”
    Christie said he isn’t sure yet what his future goals are but is open to all of the opportunities that come with graduation.
    “I selected surface warfare, so ships. After you get your pin qualifications, you have this possibility of going on and transferring to another community so you don’t have to be stuck in surface warfare. You can go on and you can fly afterward if you want,” Christie said. “We’ll take it day by day. It’s like I’ve heard all the officers tell me, all the way up until the day you have to say yes or no, if they love their job and they love what they’re doing, they are going to obviously punch the ‘stay in’ button, and I think I’m going to go with that, too.”
    Overall, Christie said, community service is most important.
    “If you’re a Girl Scout or you’re in 4-H, you’re in an organization that gives back to the community. That’s the biggest aspect because the academy sees that (and says) ‘Hey, you had all those opportunities, these great opportunities and you took them,’” Christie said. “At the same time, you’re also giving opportunities back for other people to be able to take on so it’s not like you’re just a taker. You’re also a giver.”
    Christie said he is always eager to talk to anyone about the USNA. For more information about the USNA, visit www.usna.edu.
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