WEST MICHIGAN — Earlier this week, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) nominated 11 Michigan students from West Michigan for admission to the various United States military academies.
These students will be applying for West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy
“Michigan is fortunate to have so many exceptional students who want to serve our country through military service,” Senator Stabenow said in a press release. “Having demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence in and out of the classroom, I am confident they will represent Michigan and our country well.”
Darius Jerue, a senior from Hastings applying to West Point, was pumped when he learned he was one of the nominees.
"When I when I did receive the notification that I got the nomination, I was ecstatic, I was super excited," Jerue said. "And it was one of the best feelings I've ever experienced."
Jerue has wanted to go to West Point since fourth grade when he learned about Stonewall Jackson and his experiences with the Academy. "So from then on, I just kind of had it in the back of my mind," Jerue said. "And then in high school, I started to take it more seriously, because that's when things really are important. So then, you know, I, I did more research, got my grades up and everything like that, and here I am now."
Abby Schupach, a senior from Paw Paw, is also applying to West Point and can't thank Senator Stabenow enough for the honor. "This is just an amazing opportunity," Schupach said. "This is just something that I feel extremely proud and honored to be a part of ... I was chosen to maybe be a leader for tomorrow and to help make America better, so it's just an amazing thing. And I wanted to thank Senator Stabenow for that."
Madelynn Streng, a senior at Grand Haven High School, has looked up to her father, who spent a few years with the Naval Academy. She wants to learn the same values that her dad learned from being in the Navy. "I think that it really stems from the values that I've been fortunate enough to grow up with," Streng said. "When I think about going to the Navy and attending the Naval Academy, I'm really thinking about how I want to spend the rest of my life and the type of person I want to become."
Both Schupach and Streng were empowered to see Kamala Harris be inaugurated today as the first female vice president in U.S. history. "This is quite an amazing day, like this is a first for many things," Schupach said. "And as a woman, it is super empowering to see the opportunity that is available in this nation, and we're based our this country is based on equality and justice for all. And moving forward, this is something a real reality that we're beginning to see and we're working for."
"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is that female companionship and empowerment," said Streng, who also plays club rugby. "And I'm really looking forward to meeting strong women like Debbie Stabenow and the new vice president. And I think it's gonna present some unique opportunities to do so."
All three students are waiting to hear from their respective academies regarding admission.