Three Kings County students are headed to the United States Naval Academy to begin the challenging journey of becoming naval officers later this month.
Tina Faoro from Hanford, Chris Bonham from Lemoore and Will Wilkins from Lemoore are all to the second ranked top public school in the nation, according to its website.
The fact that three people from the same county were accepted is bizarre, said Tina’s father, Steve Faoro. The acceptance rate is 9 percent, according to The Princeton Review. On average, over 16,000 students apply with a grade point average around 4.10.
“You don’t really get in,” Steve Faoro said. “It’s really hard; they only have 4,000 students total out there.”
Tina Faoro and Bonham were both accepted from naval preparatory schools or programs, they said. Wilkins was selected straight from Lemoore High School, he said.
“It was definitely a picker-upper when I got accepted, because the Monday of that week I was rejected from all of the other colleges I applied to,” Wilkins said. “My spirits were so lifted. It was really humbling.”
All three have to attend a boot-camp like program called “Plebe Summer”, which prepares students to transition from civilian life to the Navy, Tina Faoro said.
All students, called midshipmen, have to wake up around 5:30 a.m. and complete several hours of rigorous exercise and activities, she said. Phone are taken away at the beginning and returned once the seven week program is done.
The academy pays tuition, room and board, along with a stipend and cash allowance, Wilkins said. In return, graduates have to serve at least five years in the Navy or Marines.
Bonham, Tina Faoro and Wilkins are all more than excited to start at the academy, they said.
Bonham wants to major in ocean engineering and then become a surface warfare officer, he said. Tina Faoro wants to go into physics with a minor in political science and also become a surface warfare officer, she said. Wilkins wants to major in aerospace engineering and become a pilot, he said.
“No matter what we do, we’re going to end up set because we already have a guaranteed career and a top-of-the-line education,” Tina Faoro said.