Lipinski Nominates 22 for Military Academies
January 26, 2015
Abagail Evans wants to do something out of the ordinary for college.
If things work out as hoped, she will — preparing for life on a submarine, aircraft carrier or battleship.
“It’s a different thing to do. It will be a different experience,” she said. “It’s the opportunity, traveling the world when all my friends are working (after college). My friends think it’s cool. They’re excited to see what happens.”
The Andrew High School student on Saturday was among 22 seniors who were nominated by U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, for admission to a military academy in a ceremony at Johnson-Phelps VFW Post 5220, 9514 S. 52nd Ave., Oak Lawn.
While a congressional nomination does not guarantee being admitted, it’s considered to give students an edge compared to those who have not been nominated, officials said.
Evans, 17, of Tinley Park, wants to attend the Naval Academy where she hopes to study chemical engineering and eventually serve on a ship or submarine.
“I know the med corps is hard to get into, but I’d probably just do surface warfare for a year and then try to get into the med program,” she said.
Evans, captain of the Andrew cross country and track teams, said a submarine is a three-year commitment after graduation, five years for a ship or carrier.
Her parents, Cindy and Carl Evans Jr., are proud of their daughter, one of their three children.
“I’m amazingly proud of Abagail. Seeing these young men and women here today gives you great confidence in the future,” Carl Evans, an attorney, said. “I work in the criminal courts. ... It’s wonderful to see kids here today with such bright futures.”
If Abagail does not get into the Naval Academy, she’ll likely attend Michigan State, where she has been accepted.
During Saturday’s ceremony, each of the 22 students received a certificate of nomination from Lipinski, who posed with each for photos. They also met state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills, a West Point graduate and Army veteran, and Army Capt. Dan Johnson, commander of the VFW post, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lipinski’s office heard from hundreds of hopeful students, and the list was narrowed to 22, said Jerry Hurckes, the congressman’s chief of staff and a former Oak Lawn trustee.
“This is the first step,” he told the students. “You’ve done a great job, you’ve been involved in your school and community. You should be very honored.”
Hastings told them that being nominated “is something to be proud of. ... I know at West Point, when I recruited for them, we’d get 20,000 applicants and we’d generally take 1,500. It’s a competitive process.
“Let me reassure you that ... you’re about to join one of the most professional, modern and toughest fighting forces the world has ever seen. We need young, bright men and women to step forward.”
Lipinski thanked the students “for their willingness to give fully of themselves. ... This is not your average college experience. It’s a lot more than that. You know how much you have put into school, your community, you have shown dedication and that’s what’s necessary if you enter one of the military academies.”
Ryan Kairis, a standout baseball player at Marist and resident of Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community, hopes to attend the Air Force Academy because he wants to “serve my country. It’s a different path. I want the not-so-normal (college) experience.”
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