One of the most rewarding responsibilities I have as a member of Congress is nominating students to America’s military service academies—the Military Academy, Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and Merchant Marine Academy—which educate and commission our country’s fine military officers.
Selecting the next generation of Texans defending our country is a long, competitive process: Texas 12 students seeking a Congressional nomination to a military academy apply through both the military academies and my office, and are measured on their academics, leadership, extracurriculars, and physical fitness. Students with lower scores may explain in their applications how they responded to life’s challenges in the past and how they’ll respond in the future.
Each year, I’m joined by my nominating board, which is made up of local leaders (some of whom have attended a service academy themselves) to meet with applicants from Texas 12 to decide who will receive a Congressional nomination.
This year, we interviewed a record number of applicants, and a record number of our nominees were eventually appointed: close to 50%. To have almost half of all Texas 12 nominees successfully appointed is phenomenal, and a true testament to the values and character of the young people in our community.
I’d like to share some stories about some of the standout students we nominated this year. Only years of hard work and dedication earned these future leaders their much-deserved nominations, and I am confident they will go on to represent the best of what it means to be an American and a Texan.
Hamidullah is a great example of how test scores and grades do not always assess what makes an applicant unique. Hamidullah’s personal statement told a truly incredible story—one that began in Afghanistan. Hamidullah had come to America only 5 years before as a refugee, and in his new home country he took full advantage of every opportunity: He learned English, worked hard in school, and enrolled as a soldier in the Army Guard Reserves. With the help of my office caseworkers, he recently obtained his U.S. citizenship, and now is close to achieving another one of his dreams. Hamidullah has been granted a scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, or “West Point Prep,” the one-year West Point preparatory experience for select soldiers and high school graduates.
Zak and Zoe Adama
Our largest-ever applicant pool also included Zak and Zoe, our first brother-and-sister applicant duo.
Zak, the first student we interviewed this year, was at the top of his class at Boswell High School, where he volunteered with Saginaw Animal Shelter and a local food bank in his free time, and previously participated in NASA’s competitive NASA Aerospace Scholars Program.
The day before I conducted interviews with my nominating board, my office received Zak’s conditional letter of acceptance from the U.S. Air Force Academy, which Zak himself had yet to receive in the mail. When a board member began the interview by congratulating Zak, we were inadvertently breaking the great news to him—the first time our board was able to break the news to an applicant!
Zoe also attended Boswell High, where she was swim team captain and a state-ranked swimmer. She applied for the Class of 2024 and was not appointed, so she began her freshman year of college at Trinity University, where she was elected a class Senator. Zoe then reapplied for the Class of 2025. Like her brother, she was successful, and will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy in the Fall.
I look forward to seeing these seriously accomplished siblings achieve future greatness.
Ellie, who excelled in her studies at Trinity Valley School, is a young language whiz who has been studying Arabic for six years. At the time of her application, she had done two TEDx Youth Talks, including one about how learning languages can conquer cultural ignorance. Ellie also stood out for other reasons, including her demonstrated passion for attending a service academy. Ellie previously attended the Naval Academy’s 2020 Summer Seminar and was admitted to West Point’s competitive summer program, the 2020 Summer Leaders Experience. Ellie was also one of only a few applicants to take advantage of our offer to have a one-on-one discussion with our Deputy District Director Courtney before submitting her successful application. Ellie, who will be attending West Point Military Academy in the Fall, shows through example how demonstrated enthusiasm can play a part in increasing your chance of admission.
If you know a promising Texas 12 teen interested in serving their country, I hope that these stories will inspire them. This year, the deadline to apply for a nomination through my office is October 15. As last year demonstrated, nominees from our district enjoy a higher-than-average appointment record. Our community’s young people are our leaders of tomorrow, and each year, their service academy applications always fill me with great hope for our future.
I would like to again congratulate all students from Texas 12 who received a nomination this year:
Military Academy nominees:
Michael Hill Jr.
William "Ford" Maberry
Naval Academy nominees:
Air Force Academy nominees:
Merchant Marine Academy nominees:
A special thank you as well to my nominating board:
COL Kim Olson
Maj. Gen. Brian Newby