|Norton Holds Reception for this Year's Nominees to the Naval Academy (6/23/08)|
Norton Holds Reception for this Year's Nominees to the Naval Academy:
Recent Naval Academy Iraq Vet to Speak
June 23, 2008
Washington, D.C. î ºCongresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will hold a reception today in room 2247 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 6:30 PM for two local high school students she has nominated to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This year's honorees, both D.C. residents, are Philip Judson Castiel, a graduate of Georgetown Day School, and Dominique Maria Wright, a graduate of JFK High School in Montgomery County and the US Naval Academy Prep School.
Lieutenant James N. Rimensnyder, West Point class of 2005, will speak at the reception. The Woodrow Wilson Senior High School graduate served in Iraq and Germany and has been active on D.C. voting rights, even while he was in Iraq. "Lieutenant Rimensnyder is a terrific role model for our young people," Norton said. Lieutenant Rimensnyder, who expects to be assigned here in the near future, has already accepted the Congresswoman's invitation for membership on her Service Academy Board. "We are pleased that these residents have chosen the Naval Academy" said Norton. "The academies are the most competitive in the United States. The Naval Academy is fortunate to have these highly qualified students." Norton said she regrets that residents began to lose interest in the academies as the Iraq war escalated. In the years before the war, residents applied in greater numbers for the education, plus all expenses are paid. At the time, only the five years following graduation were required but that is unlikely today. She said she knew that the talent for the academies is here, judging by the pre-war period when it sometimes took several evenings to interview candidates."
Nomination to one of the United States service academies is a distinct and rare honor. Each year, a Member of Congress nominates a D.C. high school student from a public or private high school to military service academies. The candidates range in age from 17 to 23 years of age. The selected candidates receive a free college education and remain in the military at least five years after graduation. In 2007 Congresswoman Norton nominated Wright to the US Naval Academy. Wright received an appointment to the US Naval Academy Prep School in 2007. During that time she successfully completed her studies there. The Congresswoman re-nominated Wright this year and she will enter the Naval Academy next month.
The students are interviewed by Norton's selective Board members, whose recommendations she accepts to assure the objectivity of the process. Norton said she was particularly proud of the members of the Board, who are also District residents and graduates of military academies. The members include: Commander Kerwin E. Miller, USN (ret); Chair, Lt. Commander Wesley A. Brown, US Naval Academy Class of 1949, First African American Graduate of the Naval Academy, Chair Emeritus; Steven R. Blust, US Merchant Marine Academy Class of 1971; Dorenda Canty, US Merchant Marine Academy Class of 1979; David P. Gragan, US Air Force Academy Class of 1977; Ov Johnson; Ernest L. Jolly, US Naval Academy Class of 1974; George R. Keys, Jr., US Air Force Academy, Class of 1970; Charles B. King, III, US Military Academy, Class of 1994; Riaz Latifullah, US Merchant Marine Academy, Class of 1978; Colonel Jon Mark, USAF (Ret); Antonio Montes; Barbara J. Smith; James "Bernie" Walker; and Commander Carol Womack USN (Ret), US Naval Academy, Class of 1989.
Norton said, "In the many hours of interviews and deliberation, the Board members have shown remarkable dedication to the District students and to the academies which gave them the terrific start we want for our children. This is work for which there is little public acclaim or even gratitude, but they should know how grateful the city and I are that they have defined their service to the country to include participation on our Service Academy Board."
* The US Naval Academy named its new field house in Lt. Cmdr. Brown's honor this year.