Each fall, congressional offices across the country start to sift through applications from students wanting to go to one of the nation’s service academies.
For the last five years, West Point graduates Lynn and Brad Streich have helped their local congressman, Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter, decide which students to nominate. Both serve on a panel of veterans and former service academy graduates that interviews the high school seniors who want that congressional nod.
“I want to hear that you’re not just an A+ student, but you can also handle the rigors of other things in life,” Lynn Streich said, whether it be an after school job, athletics, volunteerism or something else.
Brad Streich added that “it's not an easy thing” to pursue this road. “It’s very important that the highschooler has a strong desire to serve and understands the complexities and how hard it is to succeed at the academy.”
Both remember what it was like to sit on the other side of the interview table. Lynn, who lived in California at the time, applied with her representative there, while Brad was a student in Arizona and interviewed for the late Sen. John McCain’s panel.
“I was very nervous,” he recalled.”I was a senior in high school and had never did anything like that where you’re in a ballroom talking to adults that have lots of years of with a lot of service and experience.”
Students accepted to one of the academies get a free education in exchange for five years of service. And one of the unique aspects is that there are students from every single state represented in the ranks.
Each state’s congress members can nominate at least two students from their district to each of the five different academies: West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy or the Merchant Marine Academy.
Deadlines vary from office to office. These are the deadlines for applications for Colorado’s congressional offices:
- Rep. Diana DeGette: Sept 20, 2019
- Rep. Doug Lamborn: Sept. 27, 2019
- Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Ken Buck, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Rep. Jason Crow and Rep. Joe Neguse: Oct. 1, 2019
- Rep. Scott Tipton: Oct. 7, 2019
- Sen. Michael Bennet: Oct. 8, 2019
“We are choosing some of our nation’s leaders in the military leader aspect, so involving Congress is important,” said Lynn Streich.