Miami Trace High School 2020 graduate Kylie Pettit was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2024 Thursday in Annapolis, Md.
According to a press release from the United States Naval Academy, approximately 1,200 candidates are selected each year for the academy’s “Plebe” or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in “Plebe Summer,” which for Pettit begins on Tuesday. Last year the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the class of 2023.
“The interest for me started in August or September of my senior year. I was a foreign exchange student my junior year so I didn’t really start narrowing down my top colleges until I got back my senior year,” Pettit said on Thursday. “I think my dad may have mentioned it to me actually, and from there I started researching. I wasn’t completely dead set on it at the beginning because I never imagined myself going into the military, but the more information I got and the more I looked into it, I wanted a challenge, something more than the usual college experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the academic, athletic and leadership challenges I knew I would face at the academy really sealed the deal — it made me determined to get in there.”
Pettit said the application process was a little complicated because in order to be accepted by the academy, she needed a nomination from either Ohio’s Senators or representative. This required another application and interview process that resulted in a nomination from Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Steve Stivers in December of 2019.
“So at the beginning of the year I knew I had the nomination, but I still had not heard back from the academy,” Pettit said. “The reason is because their deadline wasn’t until January 31st, but I needed to finish my Air Force application in December. I heard back from the Air Force Academy in I believe early January, but I didn’t hear back from the Naval Academy until April and I heard I was on the wait list. Through this whole time I wanted to always go to the Navy, it was just the one I was drawn to more, but I didn’t want to give up my appointment to the Air Force Academy. I had to accept or decline that one by May 1st, and the Naval Academy had the same deadline, but they had not reconvened until the end of May to decide who they would appoint for the Naval Academy. When I learned I was accepted into the Navy, I did a bit of a switch so I will be going to the Naval Academy. I thought when I accepted first to the Air Force it was going to be much more binding, but I think because they have kids that apply to them all at once, they are understanding when it takes longer for another branch to accept someone. So it was an easy switch.”
Pettit said she is slightly nervous to start, but is much more excited to begin a new set of challenges with incredibly talented individuals. She thanked her principal and assistant principal at the Miami Trace High School, Rob Enochs and Bryan Sheets, as well as former Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis, for their support. Additionally, she said without her parents, Brian and Kelly Pettit, her siblings and her teachers, she never would have made it to this point.
“I would also say that if this is something another kid is looking into, that they shouldn’t be afraid of the challenge, because when I started the challenge was intimidating when you look at it, but rather than having the school tell me no if I didn’t try I was automatically telling myself no. I think when I started this process the academy made it seem like they did not have any other Miami Trace student who had gone to the other service academies. I think it is something we should promote more because it is an awesome opportunity that I know we could have students go into every year.”
Pettit’s father — Brian — said on Thursday that they are proud of their daughter, appreciate the support and also encouraged other students — whether they go into the academies or any branch of the military — to look into this opportunity. He also said that after finding out how the process works, that parents and students should look into the academies earlier in their high school careers, perhaps as a sophomore or junior, to help their chances of being accepted.
“No one knows about it, but we think that a student from Miami Trace could make it in each year from our school and not too many people know they are available for them and are accessible,” Brian said.
ABOUT THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY:
Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college.
The information in this article was provided by the U.S. Naval Academy.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.