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Arizona students accepted into elite U.S. service academies

Arizona service academies.jpg
Posted at 10:18 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 14:44:14-04

It is no easy task gaining admission into a United States Service Academy. Along with strict academic requirements, they require applicants also be of good character. That is reinforced by a recommendation from a state lawmaker serving their country in either the U.S. House or U.S. Senate.

This year, Arizona is proud to have more than 70 students accepted into one, sometimes multiple, service academies. That includes the U.S. Military Academy, also known as West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. These appointments are also a pledge that students will serve in the military for at least five years after their graduation.

The following list includes some of the Arizona students appointed by lawmakers, as well as their school and city, if it was provided. The students not listed may still be in the process of being notified.

U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Jacob A. Avelar, Cibola High School, Yuma (Rep. Raul Grijalva)
  • Daniel Avila, Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Hannah Balasabas, (Rep. Paul Gosar)
  • Camille Darlene Bych, Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/Rep. Greg Stanton)
  • Cassie Bych, (Rep. Greg Stanton)
  • Sydney Davis, Chaparral High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Ellis Delgado, Horizon High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Emilee Denslow, Peoria, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Michael Ernst, Glendale, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Madison Felker, Chaparral High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Deric Hall Jr., Litchfield Park, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Joi Camille Harvey, Desert Edge High School, Avondale (Rep. Raul Grijalva)
  • Brian Hubbard, Sandra Day O’Connor High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Gretchen Knox, Blue Ridge High School, Lakeside, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Alexis Lee, Saguaro High School, Scottsdale, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Alexandra Mascher, (Rep. Paul Gosar)
  • Damien Daniel Orozco, Vail Academy and High School, Tucson (Rep. Raul Grijalva)
  • Nathan Polk, (Rep. Greg Stanton)
  • Joshua Richards, Saguaro High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Jack Senese, University High School, Tucson, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/ Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Hailey Stelse, Desert Mountain High School, Scottsdale, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Chaz Castillo Wilson, Perry High School, Gilbert, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)

**2 nominations from Senator Martha McSally, 3 nominations from Rep. Tom O’Halleran

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Nicole Babbitt, (Rep. Paul Gosar)
  • Alan James Gardener, Benson High School, Benson, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/ Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Justin Guidera, Brophy College Preparatory (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Daniel Heaslet, Goodyear, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Charles Longacre, (Rep. Paul Gosar)
  • Brandon Luccitti, Goodyear, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Andrew Medrano, (Rep. Paul Gosar)
  • Averi Miller, (Rep. Greg Stanton)
  • Brooke Leanne Mitchell, Marana High School, Tucson (Rep. Raul Grijalva)
  • John Edward Moore, Phoenix Country Day School, Paradise Valley, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/ Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Autumn E. Peterson, Scottsdale Christian Academy, Phoenix, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Vishakk Rajendran (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Daniel Wall, Canyon del Oro High School, Tucson, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Mason Alexander Wunder, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, Tucson, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/ Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)

**6 nominations from Senator Martha McSally, 2 nominations from Rep. Tom O’Halleran

  • Grace Hueber *Offered appointment to Naval Academy Preparatory School (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)

U.S. Military Academy

  • Willow Brown, Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Connor Butt, Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Brandon Escamilla, Red Mountain High School, Mesa, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Charles Erlandson, Brophy College Preparatory (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Erica Esterly, Veritas Scholars Academy (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Jack Frus, Desert Mountain High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Colton Bradley Graffam, (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Rich Juin, Gilbert Classical Academy, Gilbert, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/Rep. Greg Stanton)
  • Brian Lunn, Valley Vista High School, Surprise, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema/ Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Cole McCutcheon, Phoenix, AZ (Rep. Debbie Lesko)
  • Jackson Pophal, Cicero Preparatory Academy (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Brandon Rhode, (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Spencer Roy, Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Joel Rubin, Saguaro High School (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Christian Sarlitto, Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (Rep. David Schweikert)
  • Brooke Stratman, Dobson High School, Mesa, AZ (Senator Kyrsten Sinema)
  • Griffin Lamb, Gilbert High School, Gilbert, AZ (Rep. Ruben Gallego)

**6 nominations from Senator Martha McSally, 1 nomination from Rep. Tom O’Halleran

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • Bradley DeFoor, (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • Kristina DeFoor, (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
  • 1 nomination from Senator Martha McSally
  • 1 nomination from Rep. Tom O’Halleran

**Representative Andy Biggs submits appointments in the Fall

Some lawmakers also sent statements about these appointments:

  • Senator Kyrsten Sinema: “Nominating talented Arizonans who are committed to serving our country and keeping America safe is a privilege and honor. The class of 2024 Service Academy appointees are making Arizona proud, and I encourage all Arizona students interested in attending U.S. Service Academies to contact my office and apply.”
  • Senator Martha McSally: “It is my honor and a privilege to recommend some of Arizona's most talented and skilled individuals to attend the United States Military Academies. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy myself, and a retired Air Force Colonel, it is inspiring to see the next generation of military leaders begin their journey at our service academies.”
  • Rep. David Schweikert: "I am proud to honor the hardworking students who will be advancing into the U.S. Service Academies this year. Notifying these students of their appointments is one of the highest honors given to me as a Member of Congress. Their drive and ambition will continue to benefit them, and I wish them the best in their continued education. We thank each student for representing Arizona in the United States Military and are excited to see each of them succeed in their future roles serving this country."

How to apply:

If you know a student interested in learning more about these programs and the application process, here are some of the websites that can give you more information on when and how to apply. Students must complete a Service Academy Nomination file online. Also, note that each academy also has its own application process and requires students to request admission through them as well as sending these accompanying documents. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

U.S. Senators

U.S. Representatives