The Magnificent Seven, doesn’t that sound like a super hero group? While they are not super heroes, they may very well be the military leaders of tomorrow. Currently, every state can nominate 25-30 cadets into the United States Military Service Academies who meet the eligibility requirements established by law. In Utah, one school holds seven of these prestigious nominations. The Utah State Congressional Delegation has nominated seven cadets from the Utah Military Academy (UMA) to attend one of the U.S. Service Academies.
Each year, dedicated cadets make a commitment to defending their country by applying to one of the United States Service Academies. These academies include the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London and U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. The Commandant of the Cadets, Major Kit Workman is especially proud of these cadets. He said, “These cadets came to UMA with a vision of what they can be and where life can take them. In my 23 years in education, I have developed the formula to help them fulfill their dreams. We work hard to guide them on that path, and these amazing young men and women have taken the challenge to shoot for the stars!” These cadets didn’t just meet state requirements, they surpassed expectations.
One of the cadets, Hallee Reese, is applying for the Air Force Academy. She described her experience as a long and stressful journey. Interestingly enough, Hallee had no intention of joining the military. In fact, her mother accidentally signed her up for the ASVAB, which is a military aptitude test. She had received an email about a test that was offered at her daughter’s school, and as a proactive parent, she signed her up. But Hallee’s mom was unaware that it was an armed forces exam. Hallee recalls, “When we got our results back, I read the scores and had no inkling of an idea as to what they meant. So, after doing a little research I found out that these scores qualified me to be an officer in any branch of my choosing.” Hallee and her mother had not considered the military before, but after receiving such high-test scores, she could not stop thinking about it. Thus, Hallee began to strategize a plan to convince her parents to let her join the military.
For months, she kept it to herself. Privately, she began researching and gathering information. She wanted to be able to answer any question her parents could possibly throw at her to deter her decision. It wasn’t until she was finishing her junior year of high school, that she finally came clean to them. Surprisingly, they didn’t react how she thought they would. Hallee remembers, “They were quiet. My dad even chuckled a little, and they just said okay.” As Hallee looks back now, she better understands this moment. Hallee added, “At this point, I would like to add that I believe that they reacted this way because they assumed that it was just a phase, and that I would grow out of it soon enough.”
As the story goes, Hallee in fact did not grow out of it. Instead, the idea of serving her country stayed with her. Hallee traveled to Salt Lake City and arrived at a large government building. When she entered the building, she had to go through security and met with distinguished personnel. As you would predict, she was intimidated, but she kept going. In her meetings, she soon found out that the interviews were not torture, and everyone wanted the applicants to succeed. But, she admits she found some questions during the interview process difficult to answer. Hallee admits look backing, she was much more comfortable, than she originally anticipated.
Halle Reese is graduating this year, and she has submitted applications to attend the prestigious U.S. Military Service Academies. She is one of the Magnificent Seven, who is working to become a military leader of tomorrow. This Military Appreciation Month, we would like to thank all cadets for their serious commitment to serving and protecting our country.
Briana Gilchrist a press assistant at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.