Choosing to dedicate one's life in service to their country isn't a decision that is made lightly. Beginning the journey toward that career in college isn't either. Not everyone can thrive in the highly structured and regimented environment of a military service academy.

Expectations are high and tolerance for non-adherence to rules, regulations, and strict honor codes is non-existent. Your freedom is much more limited than it would be at a civilian institution of higher learning and your summer vacations will be weeks, not months.

But the pluses of attending a U.S. Service Academy are numerous, not the least of which is free tuition, free room and board, free medical and dental care, stipends, and guaranteed employment following graduation.

Competition is tough and admission rates are low, by comparison, to other colleges and universities. But if students thrive with structure, and the prestige of acquiring a degree from one of the best universities in the country is attractive to them, a service academy could be the absolute right choice.

Once the decision is made, beginning with their junior year in high school, students must apply for nominations from their congressional representatives, other military personnel, or the Vice President.

Nine South Dakota students have received nominations from Representative Dusty Johnson this year, and they are:

United States Naval Academy - Annapolis, MD

  • Eleanor Abraham, Brookings High School (Brookings, SD)
  • Julia Lair, Lincoln High School (Sioux Falls, SD)
  • Madeline Loewe, Lennox High School (Lennox, SD)

United States Military Academy - West Point, NY

  • Enoch Crow, James O’Neill High School (originally from Rapid City, SD; family currently stationed at West Point, NY)
  • Isaac Buchholtz, T.F. Riggs High School (Pierre, SD)
  • Max Martin, Lincoln High School (Sioux Falls, SD)

United States Air Force Academy - Colorado Springs, CO

  • Corwyn “Ethan” Wipf, Rapid City Christian High School (Rapid City, SD)
  • Pierce Okken, Harrisburg High School (Sioux Falls, SD)
  • Zachary Curd, O’Gorman High School (Sioux Falls, SD)

Students wanting to apply for a Class of 2025 service academy nomination, need to do so by October 30, 2020. More information can be found at Representative Johnson's website.

Sources: Office of U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson and Forbes 

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