Carroll County Times
WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) — As graduation looms, many high school seniors are prepping for college or perhaps for the workforce, uncertain of what the future will bring. But several local students have already chosen a career path. In the fall, they’ll head to a service academy to take courses and begin training for the military.
Ted Fan and Jeremy Worgul are used to friendly competition, frequently challenging each other in who can complete the most sits-ups or pull-ups.
“We’ve been competing all these years,” Worgul said, “but we’re really good friends. We’ve never really let that get in the way.”
Soon, the two will be rivals in a different setting. In the fall, Fan will attend the U.S. Naval Academy while Worgul heads to West Point.
Since Worgul was 10, he knew he wanted to attend a service academy. He grew up listening to stories from his career Army grandfather and was always intrigued. But he was never pushed toward the military. It was a decision he made at a young age — and stuck with — all on his own, he said.
“Just the idea of not only academic prestige, but it forces you to be physically fit, it forces you to be a leader and it forces character building,” Worgul said. “From what I can see, there’s only a couple places in the country that still have a solid foundation in all four of those aspects.”
For Fan, the idea of attending a service academy was a more recent dream — one he set his sights on after a visit to the Naval Academy in Annapolis at the beginning of his junior year.
“After I saw what I had to do to get in, I had to really kick it up — get in shape, get on top of classes, grades,” Fan said.
So the two friends — who met on the first day of their sophomore year as new students at Winters Mill High School — turned to each other for help.
They started a fitness club at Winters Mills High School during junior year to help get in shape to complete the application’s physical component. They pushed each other during their friendly competitions. And they both received acceptance letters.
“They had to be elite in every way to gain these coveted seats in these academies,” Winters Mill Principal Eric King said at a reception for Fan and Worgul May 19.
The two said they’re excited to graduate and attend their respective schools. They’re ready to enter a new life that’s inherently similar — yet, they’ll still be competitors as they root for opposite teams on the field.
Last summer, Chris Choi headed to New London, Connecticut, for a week of intense physical fitness. He wasn’t reporting for duty, just merely getting a taste of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s training.
“It gets pretty rigorous,” said Choi, a Liberty High School senior. “I think after that I knew I really wanted to do that.”
Military service first piqued Choi’s interest his sophomore year of high school. He began researching different careers and decided the Coast Guard seemed a good fit for him. He began lifting weights at the gym and going on morning runs to prep for the physical component of the exam. He completed the application and the fitness test and was rewarded with an acceptance letter.
This summer, he’ll head back to New London for a seven-week boot camp. And in the fall he’ll begin classes as a freshman at the Coast Guard Academy.
“I like the lifestyle,” he said. “It seems that it would be good for my future, a job right after college and just stable.”
Annabelle Gagnon, a South Carroll High School senior, is also attending the Coast Guard Academy.
Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md., http://www.carrollcounty.com/
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)