2012-06-15 / Front Page

School has strong ties to Naval Academy

Two more Scarborough grads bound for Annapolis
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Dan Davidson, left, awards $400,000 scholarships to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. to Zachary Brown, center, and Nicholas Morris at Scarborough High School’s senior assembly last week. (Courtesy photo) Dan Davidson, left, awards $400,000 scholarships to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. to Zachary Brown, center, and Nicholas Morris at Scarborough High School’s senior assembly last week. (Courtesy photo) More than 250 students in Scarborough High School’s Class of 2012 received their high school diplomas on Sunday, June 10.

With that rite of passage, the students ushered out 13 years of public school education and began their transition to post-high school life. For many that means college. For others it means heading into the workforce and, for a select group, it means the start of their military career.

At this year’s graduation ceremony, held at the Cumberland County Civic Center, Principal Dean Auriemma asked 10 seniors to stand up to be recognized because they had committed to serving their country in the Army, Marines, Coast Guard and Navy.

The school, whose enrollment of 1,050 makes it one of the biggest high schools in southern Maine, has a rich history of students entering the military after college, especially the Navy.

Last week at the high school’s senior assembly, Dan Davidson, a retired Naval commander who works as a Blue and Gold Officer in the Naval Academy Admissions team, awarded $400,000 in scholarships for Nicholas Morris, class of 2012 and Zachary Brown, class of 2011, to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Only the best and the brightest people, Davidson said, end up making it through the acceptance process. Davidson said this year, of the 20,600 candidates nominated by U.S. Senators and Representatives, only 934, or just more then 4.5 percent, were accepted into the Naval Academy.

“The Naval Academy is invariably one of the top 25 academic institutions in the U.S. We send the best and the brightest to the Navy. They are scholars, athletes and patriots, which I think is a very important aspect of the people who go into the Navy,” Davidson said.

According to records from the high school’s senior placement office, Morris and Brown follow in the footsteps of Matthew Reichl (class of 2002), Steven Hayworth and Ashley McElroy-Wheeler (class of 2005), Matthew Libby (class of 2006), Nicole Glab (class of 2008) and Roscoe Thomas (class of 2010) as students from Scarborough High School who have attended the Naval Academy. Davidson said Hayworth is working in the Navy’s submarine force and Glab, who just graduated, is a surface warfare specialist.

“Scarborough High School has placed within the Naval Academy more students, I think, than any other high school in the state. I can think of at least eight students within the last 10 years. I cannot imagine any other high school having done better,” said Davidson, a Cape Elizabeth resident.

This history will soon be acknowledged in a plaque at the high school listing all the Scarborough students who have graduated from a military academy. The idea for the plaque came Nicole’s sister, Maya, a 2011 graduate of Scarborough High School.

Glab said it is a small way to honor her sister and countless others from Scarborough who are serving in the military.

“She definitely had that drive to serve her country. A lot of these students have that internal drive. I wanted to do something to recognize that. It takes a lot for someone to make that commitment. She was definitely dedicated,” Glab said of her sister, currently stationed on the U.S.S Lake Erie in Hawaii. The ship was built at Bath Iron Works in the early 1990s. “I feel they should be recognized in some way.”

State Rep. Heather Sirocki is working with Glab to figure out how to raise the money to create the plaque.

“These students should be acknowledged, recognized and applauded for their service to their country. I think a plaque in the high school is a wonderful idea. Hopefully it will inspire other students to pursue a career in the military and service to their country,” Sirocki said.

Tracy Brown said her son, Zachary, was inspired to serve his country at an early age.

“He knew in seventh grade that he wanted to serve his country. We began looking around and preparing. Most of these kids express an interest at an early age,” Brown said.

This was Brown’s second attempt to get into the Naval Academy. Last year he was nominated, but was not accepted. Most people in her son’s position, Tracy Brown said, would give up. Brown, however, was determined to attend the academy. Last fall, he enrolled as a mechanical engineering major at Norwich University, a private military college in Vermont. After attending for a semester, Brown was nominated by Rep. Chellie Pingree to again apply to get into the Naval Academy.

“Scarborough has a good reputation of being a strong academic and athletic school,” said Davidson. “They seem to have a good system of motivating students for the future, not just for the Naval Academy, but for any college they choose to go to. They also have motivated staff and faculty that keep students engaged in healthy activities.”

The process to be accepted into the Naval Academy is nothing short of exhaustive.

“The academy looks for a whole lot more than traditional colleges do,” Davidson said. “We are looking for scholars and athletes. We are very much looking for people with leadership qualities and who have a high moral character. We are looking for young people committed to serving in the Navy or Marine Corps.”

With the history of success of Scarborough High School students getting into the Naval Academy, Sue Leighton, an assistant in the senior placement office, said younger students can see their dream of serving in the Navy can become a reality.

“We are very proud of all our students and those who have been nominated, applied and appointed to the Naval Academy. Certainly with any school, once a student goes there and the younger students hear about that success, a school becomes more interesting with the younger graduates,” Leighton said

Brown and Morris and the rest of the new cadets will report to the Naval Academy on June 28 to begin their rigorous academics and training regimen.

“I take great pride in these young men and women,” Davidson said. “They have some great challenges before them when they get there, but they also have some amazing opportunities as a result.”

Tracy Brown said her son is prepared for those challenges, no matter what they might be.

“He loved his experiences at Scarborough High School,” Brown said of her son. “The teachers he had were great. He was well prepared. Scarborough prepared him well. They are able to prepare these kids, not just for the Naval Academy, but for anything that want to pursue.”

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

Recent Naval Academy appointees

2002: Matthew Reichl

2005: Steven Hayworth, Ashley McElroy Wheeler

2006: Matthew Libby

2008: Nicole Glab

2010: Roscoe Thomas

2011: Zachary Brown

2012: Nicholas Morris

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