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Officers of the future

A group of recent Pinellas County high school graduates have signed on for the challenge of a lifetime.

They have joined thousands of young people nationwide who will test their mental and physical prowess at the nation's five armed forces academies.

The students began rigorous physical regimens the day they arrived at the academies, which was July 1 for most of them. Soon, they will begin arduous academic programs. Their goal is to leave the academies in four years with bachelor's degrees and officer's commissions.

Those who have preceded them say they also will gain unparalleled leadership skills that will equip them for rewarding careers in the armed forces or in the private sector.

The students earned admittance to the academies based on their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community involvement and potential for leadership. Although the academies have different entrance requirements, they all have strict academic and physical standards.

Nominations to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., come primarily from U.S. senators and representatives. The president can make 100 nominations, and the Air Force and Air Force Reserve each can make 85 nominations annually.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens, unmarried with no dependents, and between 17 and 23 years old. They must submit their secondary school records and a high school activities record that demonstrates leadership potential.

Their four-year academic course includes science, engineering, humanities, social sciences and ethics and leads to a bachelor of science degree. Before taking an Oath of Allegiance, candidates must sign a statement agreeing to serve as commissioned officers in the Air Force for at least five years after graduation.

Acceptance at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., is based on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test rather than congressional appointment. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens between 17 and 27 with no more than two dependents.

Cadets receive four years of academic, military and physical education training. Unlike other service branches, the Coast Guard makes all specialties available to women, including combat roles. Academy graduates receive bachelor of science degrees and commissions as ensigns in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Appointments to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., come from senators or representatives and are governed by state and territory quota systems based on population. Candidates must be between 17 and 25 and take competitive exams to gain admission.

They pursue a four-year course in marine engineering, navigation, electricity, ship construction and naval science to earn bachelor's degrees and commissions as ensigns in the naval reserve.

Nominations to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point come from members of Congress or from the Department of the Army. After receiving a nomination, a candidate is evaluated on his or her academic, physical and leadership potential.

Cadets, who must be between 17 and 23 with no dependents, select from 31 fields and 19 majors. Their core curriculum includes arts and sciences classes and a five-course engineering sequence. They graduate with bachelor's degrees and commissions in the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., accepts high school graduates between 17 and 23 who have received nominations from senators and representatives. The president can nominate an unlimited number of children of career military personnel.

A midshipman's four-year curriculum includes mathematics, science, engineering, social sciences and humanities. Students choose an academic major in a specific field, such as aerospace engineering, oceanography or political science, leading to bachelor's degrees and commissions as ensigns in the Navy or as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

Here are the Pinellas County students who are beginning appointments at the country's armed forces academies.

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY

CHRISTOPHER KELLENBENCE

Naples American High, Naples, Italy, class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: U.S. Rep. Michael Bilirakis

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society

HONORS: varsity letters in wrestling, baseball and rugby

PARENTS: Mary Jane and Wayne Kellenbence of Tarpon Springs and Naples, Italy.

STEPHEN H. MITCHELL

Lakewood High class of 2000; graduated from St. Petersburg College 2002

NOMINATED BY: U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Sen. Bob Graham

ACTIVITIES: Lakewood High: varsity track and wrestling, DECA marketing program. St. Petersburg College: student government representative, Phi Theta Kappa vice president

HONORS AND AWARDS: Lakewood High: graduated cum laude, economics and marketing math district competition awards, Who's Who Among American High School Students, DECA Outstanding Progress and Achievement Award, varsity letters in track and wrestling. St. Petersburg College: graduated with high honors, Who's Who Among Students in America's Junior Col

leges, Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Institute Honors Scholar, FCCAA Student Government All Academic Team, All-American Scholar Collegiate Award, National Dean's List for College Students, President's Honor List

PARENTS: Heidi C. Harrison and Kenneth D. Mitchell of St. Petersburg

U.S. COAST GUARD ACADEMY

STEPHEN BRICKEY

Flour Bluff High, Corpus Christi, Texas, class of 2002

ACTIVITIES: varsity swim team, current events team

HONORS AND AWARDS: academic distribution honors in history and English, breaststroke district champion

PARENTS: Terri and Vernon Brickey of St. Petersburg

RACHAEL DEPTULA

Information was not available.

MARY AMELIA GILDAY

St. Petersburg High class of 2002

ACTIVITIES: Rojan service club, principal's multicultural advisory committee, drama club, junior varsity and varsity basketball, cross country, swim and dive and flag football teams, varsity softball team, St. Petersburg High bowling team, TASCO volleyball and flag football teams

HONORS AND AWARDS: voted Most Athletic by senior class, received Most Athletic Senior Award from St. Petersburg High's Booster Club, Pinellas County's All-County Softball Team honorable mention, honor roll, junior varsity basketball Most Dedicated Player award

PARENTS: Englan and Michael Gilday

GORDON EDUARDO REDSHAW

Seminole High class of 2002

ACTIVITIES: track and cross country teams

HONORS AND AWARDS: 10th Congressional District artistic certificate of merit, November 2001 Rotary Club student of the month, 2001 FACA All-State Cross Country Team, 2001 district cross country champion, 2001 Seminole High cross country Most Valuable Player, 2001 Seminole High cross country team captain, 2000 Seminole High cross country co-Most Valuable Player, 1999 Seminole High cross country Rookie of the Year, 2002 Seminole High track team captain

PARENTS: Dora and Marc Redshaw of Seminole

MORGAN ROY

Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High class of 2002

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Center for Advanced Technologies Communications and Original Multimedia (CATCOM), Spartan Patrol, Interact service club, track team

HONORS AND AWARDS: Center for Advanced Technologies class valedictorian, class treasurer, Senior Soccer All-Star, voted Most Athletic by senior class, St. Petersburg Times Student Athlete Award, Rotary of St. Petersburg Award, dean's list, 100 Percent Award in soccer, Lakewood High cross country Most Valuable Runner, Army Reserve Student Athlete Award, GTE Student Athlete Award, Lakewood Lady Spartan Student Athlete Award, varsity soccer captain, varsity cross country captain, homecoming court

PARENTS: Nancy and Raymond Roy of St. Petersburg

CLIFFORD SIEVER SCHOMBURG JR.

Eastlake High class of 2002

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, German Club, German National Honor Society, FIRST Robotics Team, Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary) Palm Harbor Cadet Squadron 438, air show security detail and civilian airport security volunteer at MacDill Air Force Base, Coast Guard Academy Introduction Mission and Honor Platoon member, George Young United Methodist Church youth group, Palm Harbor Library volunteer

HONORS AND AWARDS: graduated cum laude, Florida Association of Students of German first- and fourth-place awards, Who's Who Among American High School Students, Gen. Billy Mitchell Award, Amelia Earhart Award, Duke University Talent Identification mathematics award

PARENTS: Janice and Clifford Schomburg of Palm Harbor

U.S. MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

BENJAMIN DOWERS

No information was available.

U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY

MATTHEW L. GREEN

Seminole High class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young

ACTIVITIES: track, cross country teams, First Baptist of Indian Rocks youth group

HONORS AND AWARDS: varsity letters in cross country and track

PARENTS: Donna and Ron Green of Seminole

JAMES O'BERRY LANG

International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: Sen. Bill Nelson

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, International Thespian Honor Society, swim team

HONORS AND AWARDS: Who's Who Among American High School Students, National Student Athlete Day Achievement Award 2001, swim team Most Spirited Award 2000-2002, junior varsity Coach's Sportsmanship Award 1998-1999, junior varsity Cheerleader's Hero Award, Most Spirited Student 2001-2002, Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Award for Outstanding Student 2002, Akins-Griffin Award for greatest contribution to St. Petersburg High 2001-2002, junior class vice president 2000-2001, student body president 2001-2002, St. Petersburg High Key Club president 2001-2002, varsity swim team captain 2000-2002, varsity swim team letters 1999-2002

PARENTS: Elsie and Joseph Lang of St. Petersburg

THOMAS ROBERT RYAN JR.

Osceola High class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: Superintendent of the Military Academy

ACTIVITIES: drama club, Toys for Tots volunteer

HONORS AND AWARDS: Bright Futures scholarship, Exchange Club Youth of the Year at Osceola High, All-City Academic High School football team, All-County football team, yearbook co-editor, captain of football and wrestling teams

PARENTS: Beverly Ryan of Seminole

U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY

CHARLES FULMER

Admiral Farragut Academy class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, waterfront instructor, sailing, U.S. Laser Radial World Team

HONORS AND AWARDS: Ranked in top three in North American Laser Radial Grand Prix three consecutive years

PARENTS: Cassie Featherston and Allen Fulmer of Seminole

DAVID C. HAERTEL

Palm Harbor University High International Baccalaureate program

NOMINATED BY: Sen. Bill Nelson

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Boy Scouts of America, varsity swim team four years

HONORS AND AWARDS: National Honor Society president, swim team captain 2000-2002, Academic All-American Athletic Award, Sons of the American Revolution bronze medal, Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow, Order of the Arrow's Vigil Honor and Founder's Award, Order of the Arrow Lodge Chief Timuquan Lodge 340, Altar Server of the Year at St. Luke's Catholic Church 2002

PARENTS: Kathleen and Donald Haertel of Palm Harbor

DAMIAN OSLEBO

Palm Harbor University High class of 2002

NOMINATED BY: Vice President Dick Cheney

ACTIVITIES: National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, French Honor Society, Economic Quiz Bowl member and captain, Health Occupations Students of America, geometry test writer for Mighty Mu competition of middle school students, medical senior celebration committee, wrestling team

HONORS AND AWARDS: departmental awards for math and social studies, varsity letter in wrestling, AP Scholar Award, National AP Scholar with Distinction, fourth in state for Health Occupations Students of America medical math event, third in state in Health Occupations Students of America dental terminology event

GUARDIANS: Norma Jean Summers and Alan Powell of Palm Harbor

BRAD LEE SNYDER

No information was available.

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