MCHS student to attend seminar at U.S. Naval Academy |

MCHS student to attend seminar at U.S. Naval Academy

Ben McCanna

John Kirk, a Moffat County High School student, stands Tuesday at the Craig Swimming Complex, where he works as a lifeguard. Later this year, Kirk will travel to Annapolis, Md., to attend the U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar. Roughly 30,000 high school students from around the nation applied to the one-week program. Kirk is one of 1,500 students who were accepted. The seminar gives prospective Naval Academy students an in-depth look at the school and its rigors.

John Kirk, a Moffat County High School student, is preparing for a college visit this week.

It's not unusual that a student between his junior and senior year would visit a college campus. But, the circumstances of Kirk's trip are out of the norm.

"It's not just touring the campus," Kirk said. "We'll wake up at 5:30 (a.m.) every morning, do calisthenics, run two miles … then we do marching and drills.

"And then, we go to some workshops in science and technology, engineering and math."

From June 4 through 9, Kirk will be in Annapolis, Md., for the U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar.

According to the Naval Academy website, the summer seminar is "a fast-paced, six-day experience for high achievers who have completed their junior year in high school. Summer Seminar teaches you about life at the Naval Academy, where academics, athletics, and professional training play equally important roles in developing our nation's leaders."

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Students who are interested in the summer seminar must apply. There are three sessions. Each session hosts 500 students from around the country.

Kirk said roughly 30,000 high school students apply for the seminar every year.

"It's a big deal," he said.

The admissions process considers each student's grade-point average, academic merits, personal character and service to the community.

MCHS science teacher Roger Spears said he taught Kirk in a college-level chemistry class during the last school year.

"He's a very good student," Spears said. "He's really good at it, and he's been inducted into the National Honor Society.

"So, he's on the right path."

Kirk said he performs community service through the Eagle Scouts, Special Olympics and Key Club.

"I got my 100-hour Key Club pin this year for doing various projects," he said.

Kirk, who is a hobbyist sailor, said the Naval Academy might be a good fit.

"I've always wanted to serve," he said. "I don't necessarily want to be an enlisted person, but I would like to be a commissioned officer, either in the Naval Academy, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine."

The seminar, he hopes, will provide answers as to whether the school is right for him.

"It's basically to show people who are interested — including me — what the academy is all about, how the academy operates, the admissions process, and what you will be doing at the academy during your plebe summer," he said. "This will tell me whether or not I want to pursue the route of the academy into a military life and an officer in the Navy."

Nonetheless, Kirk said he has begun preliminary work on the applications process.

"It's kind of a long process," he said. "I have to get two congressional nominations and I have to get accepted into the academy."

Kirk said he knows his mind and body will be put to the test during the seminar.

"I'm not worried about the whole workout aspect, but maybe the mental (aspect)," he said. "I've heard there are some situations where you get pushed pretty hard, and beaten down and built back up.

"I'm just trying to go in with a positive attitude and come out learning as much as I can."

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