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McNerney recognizes local students accepted into military academies

Nominates 3 from San Ramon Valley, none from Pleasanton

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) recognized 15 students from the 11th congressional district that have been accepted to attend a military service academy.

Every year, McNerney nominates high school students from the area for acceptance to these prestigious institutions.

"Every year I'm privileged to nominate exceptional students from our area for appointments to the military service academies," he said.

"I'm proud that 15 hard-working and talented young people have been accepted to these prestigious institutions this year. They are dedicated students, excellent athletes, and frequent volunteers in our community. We can be proud of what these young people have already accomplished and the commitment they are making to serve our country."

This year, McNerney nominated three San Ramon Valley residents -- Kelly Fielder from San Ramon and Danville residents Alexander Ganz, Thomas Hickle and Brian He -- to attend West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis.

No Pleasanton high school students were nominated this yeaar.

Although his choice to attend the Naval Academy is not a common route for high school graduates, California High's Brian said he doesn't worry about missing out on a common college experience.

"I think I'll still get an enjoyable college experience," he said, "although it will be more structured."

Brian and Kelly Fielder, another Cal High student, both plan to report to Annapolis Maryland at the end of June where they spend their summer at Plebe Academy or boot camp.

Kelly and Brian's mentor, Captain Scott Perkins, said Plebe Academy is seven weeks long, with classes meeting six days a week at 5:30 a.m. Days start off with physical education followed by an entire day of classes, including rifle range and sailing instruction.

"[Plebes are expected to be able to run three miles in under 20 minutes, do 70 push ups in under two minutes, and do 80 sit ups in under two minutes," Perkins said. "Plebes must be in excellent physical condition."

Kelly and Brian will attend Annapolis' military college in the fall, but they aren't the only ones who will join the armed forces after graduation. A total of nine seniors from Cal High will ship off to training as future Marines and members of the Army and Air Force.

While administrators from Cal High did not return calls for comment about whether the large number of enlisted students is part of a trend, students are excited about their future in the armed forces.

"(The Navy) will create a strong base for future endeavors," Brian said.

Jill Schratz, Dougherty Valley High's college and career center coordinator, said four students will join the military after graduation.

California High senior Amelia Arvesen contributed to this story.

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