Two Cheshire students and the son of a town official are among 70 young people to earn a coveted nomination for appointment to U.S. military academies from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Cheshire High School senior Jack Senft was nominated for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York while Andrew Prairie of Cheshire received a nod for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Also nominated for appointment to the Air Force Academy was John Voelker of Southington, a senior at Xavier High School in Middletown and son of Cheshire Town Planner Bill Voelker.
"These extraordinary young leaders will help continue to make our armed forces the strongest and smartest in world history," said Blumenthal in a news release. "This year's nominees are among the brightest and toughest of their generation. I congratulate them and their families for their commitment to serving their country, and I am proud to aid them in pursuing this opportunity.
Jack has applied to both West Point and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. said his mother, Judy Senft. He has interviewed with U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy for additional nominations. She said her son has wanted to serve in the military since elementary school.
At Cheshire High, he is a member of the National Honor Society, is a varsity letter winner in football and wrestling, and is president of BRAVE, a club that recognizes and honors veterans.
He is also member of the Cheshire Volunteer Fire Department and was awarded a departmental commendation for heroic performance during Tropical Storm Irene.
Voelker said his son, who previously attended St. Bridget School in Cheshire and St. Dominic's in Southington, is interested in studying aerospace engineering at the Air Force Academy.
He is co-captain of the Xavier High School Engineering Team, which won the National Championship of the Real World Design Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Department of Defense in collaboration with NASA, the FAA and leading aerospace companies including Pratt and Whitney and Sikorsky. The team's task was to redesign the wing of a Boeing 737 to improve its efficiency.
John is also a member of the National Honor Society and the track and cross country teams.
"He is very excited about the opportunity to compete for an appointment to the Air Force Academy and the nomination of Senator Blumenthal is an essential step toward achieving this," Bill Voelker said.
Cheshire Patch was unable to reach Prairie.
Each year, members of Congress can nominate candidates for appointment to four of the U.S. service academies, including West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.
Graduates are commissioned as officers in the active or reserve components of the military or merchant marine and serve for a minimum of five years.
Nominees are chosen by Blumenthal's nonpartisan Selection Committee made up of service academy graduates and retired military personnel.