Lipinski: Recognizing Service Academy Nominees

By Dan Lipinski

Southwest News-Herald

Each year, one of the highest honors I have as your congressman is nominating young men and women for our nation’s prestigious service academies: the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, N.Y.

Applications come from the best and brightest students in the district, competing against their peers from across the country for a few select spots. Just to be nominated is a major accomplishment and a tremendous honor.

A nomination from your congressman is just the first step in a rigorous process. Ultimately, the final decision rests with the admissions departments at the service academies.

Last month, I announced 14 nominees from the Third Congressional District for the classes entering this fall.

They include Peter Strawbridge, of Western Springs and Lyons Township High School, for the Air Force Academy. Daniel Calero, of Lemont and Marist High School and Andrew Jacobs, of LaGrange and Mount Carmel High School, were nominated for West Point. Michael Kelly, of Western Springs and Fenwick High School and Elaine Smith, of Western Springs and Lyons Township High School, were nominated for the Naval Academy.

The selection process culminated with a ceremony at a local VFW post attended by family, friends, teachers and coaches of the nominees. They all know how they have each contributed to the success of the nominee. To see the proud looks on the faces of everyone there is something I'll never forget.

Every year I am inspired by these students who have a desire to serve their country, along with the discipline that produces academic success and a demonstrated commitment to their community. I am excited to see what the future holds for this latest group of nominees. I am sure each of them will make an impact no matter what path they take in life.

If you wish to find out more about how you can be nominated to a U.S. service academy, please contact any of my offices or visit for assistance.