Annapolis graduate speaks at Rotary luncheon

Published 11:43 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

Deciding where to go to college is the first big decision a teenager entering the adult world has to make.

Atmore businessman and United States Military Academy at West Point graduate Doc Sutton’s special guest at a recent Atmore Rotary Club luncheon shared with members the process of acceptance into one of the nation’s five military academies. United States Naval Commander Brian Campbell, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was on hand to share some of his experiences at Annapolis and also the qualifications of being accepted.

“All of the service academies are available to your young men and women,” Campbell said. “The question is, do we convenience them early enough.”

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Campbell, who works as an executive officer at Pensacola NAS, said high school students interested attending a service academy need to begin preparing as early as their sophomore year.

Numerous educators were on hand at Sutton’s request in hopes of getting the ball rolling with some high school students that may have interest. Those educators included Escambia Academy headmaster Betty Warren and teacher Bobbi Sasser; A.C. Moore Elementary School Principal David Nolin; Rachel Patterson Elementary School Principal Susan McKenzie and Escambia County High School personnel Tonya Ragan and Toya Cooper.

“We need qualified young men and women in our service academies,” Sutton said.

Campbell said that Annapolis, which was ranked No. 1 in 2009 by “Forbes,” offers 22 majors with military and PHD level professors teaching classes. He said the school offers students the opportunity to “travel and see the world” and also offers Division 1A and intramural or club sports. He added that all students are required to be apart of a sport of some sort while enrolled.

Acceptance into the college is a lengthy process, which requires certain ACT (28) and SAT (1,250) score requirements, letters of recommendation including from teachers and involves an application process with alumni. He said a summer program between students’ junior and senior years of high school is also offered to nearly 1,000 teenagers interested to either grow their interests or allow them to see first-hand that they are not interested in the school, thus not taking a scholarship spot away from another interested candidate.

Campbell said that once accepted, scholarships for tuition and room and board are valued at $400,000 over a four-year period. Schooling is continued year round, Campbell said.

“They are not coming home,” he added.

To be eligible for admission, candidates have to be at least 17 years old and not over 23 years old on July 1. They also cannot be married or pregnant, and must be of good character. Campbell added that students must be medically, physically and academically qualified.

Campbell said for the 2013 class, 15,342 applications were received and only 1,251 were accepted. He added that for those not accepted the first time, the Naval Academy offers a prep school in New Port, R.I. and also Naval Academy Foundation Programs including Marion Military Institute in Marion. He said these type programs aid students in preparing for the Academy and in some instances guarantee them a spot in a future class.

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About USNA

The Naval Academy was founded in 1845 by the Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, in what is now historic Annapolis, MD. The history of the Academy has often reflected the history of the United States itself. As the U.S. Navy has moved from a fleet of sail and steam-powered ships to a high tech fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships as well as supersonic aircraft, the Academy has changed also. The Naval Academy gives young men and women the up-to-date academic and professional training needed to be effective naval and marine officers in their assignments after graduation.

Every day, as the undergraduate college of the naval service, the United States Naval Academy strives to accomplish its mission to develop midshipmen “morally, mentally, and physically.”

Atmore Rotary Club President Mark Clayton, left, and Atmore businessman and Rotarian Doc Sutton pose for a photo with United States Navy Commander Brian Campbell, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.|Photo by Adam Prestridge