As high school seniors prepare to tackle the next phase in their lives, four area students were honored for making service to their country at the highest level their next challenge.
U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) held a reception for the U.S. Service Academy appointees from the 10th District on Tuesday, including Turlock High School senior Adam Groesbeck.
Groesbeck will have short summer, and is expected to begin his boot camp training for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. by June.
He has been offered a full-ride baseball scholarship for the Air Force, as well as a salary for his service.
“This summer will be difficult,” said Groesbeck. “Just applying was a challenge.”
Groesbeck was subjected to an extensive and competitive application process before receiving recognition. The U.S. Service Academies have been ranked by Forbes.com as one of the most exclusive colleges in America with a less than 15 percent acceptance rate.
“For those of you who may be applying next year, you can’t slack,” said Mariposa County High School senior Kahleb Kelsey, who not only received acceptance from the Air Force Academy, but also the Naval Academy. “You must stay focused throughout your entire high school career. It is a long process and quite strenuous, but you can get through it.”
All appointees are judged based on a series of criteria, including scholarly attributes, leadership qualities, athletics, and temperament. Groesbeck would occasionally take time off the field to participate in Relay For Life, feeding the homeless, or helping his father, Neal, with the Sunrise Rotary Club, but his true passion always resorted back to baseball.
“I am very excited because baseball is my passion. I know I will have to work hard, but I want to experience this. I’m hoping I’m able to fly and become some sort of engineer, and experience what they have to offer.”
Denham, who is also a 16-year Air Force veteran, welcomed the families to participate in their children’s success, and was excited to honor the next generation of service members.
“It is one of the greatest privileges I have to meet and present the youth of this year’s Service Academy,” said Denham. “I get a real thrill out of calling each of these individuals to take part in our program. These schools are some of the greatest in the country, and it is always a real challenge to get anyone into them.
“To get one member of my community into the academy is great. To get several that represent our District is even better. I appreciate the time these gentlemen put in to achieve these goals, and we appreciate your service.”
Denham also recognized retiring Service Academy Board members Lt. Col. Bob Small, Cmd. David Linn, and Cpt. Rod Stubblefield for nominating select individuals over the last few years.
The parents were also brimming with pride as each appointee was called to the podium to take their certificate from Denham.
“He’s worked really hard for what he’s accomplished,” said Neal Groesbeck. “He put in a lot of work, both academically and physically to reap these awards. We are very proud of him.”