Four Kennett High School graduates have received appointments to United States Military Academies. Hannah Shiflet and Thomas Spell have accepted appointments to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Kirsten Sharp has accepted an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. Graceanna Werner received an appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Last year Kennett students also received appointments. Kyle Werner was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point and is there now. Cory Tomasetti, son of Kennett Consolidated School District Superintendent Barry Tomasetti, is attending the Coast Guard Academy.
Emma Spell, sister of appointee Thomas Spell, was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2013 and she has now finished her second year at the Academy. Hannah received her nomination from Congressman Patrick Meehan (R, PA 7th Congressional District).
Hannah Shiflet is the daughter of Sharon E. and Robert G. Shiflet, graduates of West Point who both achieved the rank of Captain and served for five years.
“It has always been my dream to attend West Point and serve my country,” replied Hannah when asked why she sought a nomination. “I love West Point. My parents are both grads so I grew up loving the academy. I have always dreamt of this opportunity. I cannot wait to give back to my country.”
After four years at West Point Hannah then must serve at least five years active duty in the army. But Hannah plans to make a career out of the army and serve much longer.
“I don’t have to decide my major until my second year but I am considering engineering,“ Hannah noted. “I report for basic training on June 29 and will be at basic training for the first six weeks. They call it BEAST. I am very excited. I know the experience will be tough but so worth it.”
Also accepting an appointment to West Point is Thomas Spell, son of Ellen and Thomas Spell of Kennett Square.
When asked why she sought and accepted her appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, she explained, “Both sides of my family have men that served in the Armed Forces — in all branches except for the Coast Guard. My Uncle Bud told me about the Coast Guard Academy and I decided to visit. I fell in love with the view of the river, the boats and helicopters, and the mission statement.”
To test her desire, Kirsten completed the Academy Introduction Mission (AIM) Program for a week last summer, which was basically an entire week of boot camp. “Something about the fact that not everybody can survive it inspired me to apply,” she said. “I know Cory Tomasetti is currently a 4th class student (Freshman). I actually saw him when I was at the Academy for the AIM Program. He was in the middle of Swab Summer, a seven-week boot camp every student must complete before classes begin in the fall of one’s 4th class year.”
Kirsten described her other reasons for focusing on the Coast Guard. “The Coast Guard mainly focuses on humans helping humans, something I believe I was put on this Earth to do. I really love ships and helicopters as well, so that is a huge part. Also, I have felt lost on what to do with my life and the Coast Guard provides me with at least a 9 year job for me to figure out what I want to do and the Government will pay for my Grad School when I return from service. This way, in a decade when most college students will be swimming in debt, I will have a solid career. Finally, I really want to travel and see what the world has to offer, and I will be able to travel all over the United States with the Coast Guard.”
“The only thing that really scares me about this choice is Swab Summer. It will be a really hard seven weeks that will test me mentally and physically.”
Graceanna Werner was appointed to the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.
Tuition is fully paid for cadets at the various military academies. The Coast Guard Academy is the only Service Academy that does not require a letter from a Congressman. Procedure for appointment to the USCGA are stipulated by the Department of Homeland Security. All other academies do require appointment by the President, Vice President, or a member of Congress. These academies fall under the purview of the Department of Defense.