By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ten local students who are seeking to attend the nation’s military service academies like West Point received a helping hand from U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan who announced that he has nominated them for admission.
The nominations do not mean that the students automatically earn places in the incoming classes at places like West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, but it does help their efforts to gain admission, according to Donovan’s office.
Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) presented the students with certificates at a ceremony that took place on Staten Island at the SSG Michael Ollis Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Feb. 23. The VFW facility is named after Army Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis, who died when he stepped in front of a suicide bomber in Afghanistan to save a Polish soldier.
Donovan awarded four nominations to West Point, four to the U.S. Naval Academy, one to the U.S. Air Force Academy and one to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
The students nominated for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are Jonathon Carbonella, of the College of Staten Island; Jonathon Decarlo, of Susan Wager High School; Patrick Orlando, of Penn State University; and Evan Tedesco, of Staten Island Tech High School.
Michael Stumpf, of Xavier High School, Lauren Casella, of Tottenville High School, Najee Jenkins of Coney Island Prep High School and Joshua Maldonado of Xaverian High School have all been nominated by Donovan for admission into the U.S. Naval Academy.
Caleb Wong, a student at Aviation Career & Technical High School, has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Matthew Bantis, a student at Poly Prep Country Day School, was nominated for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Each nominee underwent a rigorous application process in which a local committee evaluated academic records, extracurricular activities, recommendations and leadership skills, Donovan said.
“I’m honored to nominate the brightest students from our district to the U.S. service academies. Each nominee has worked hard and chosen the noble path of serving and defending our great nation. I applaud your patriotism and look forward to seeing your future accomplishments. It’s truly a privilege to help build the next generation of servicemen and women,” Donovan said in a statement.