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McCarthy Announces Appointment of Local Students to Service Academies

Dec 6, 2019
Press Release


Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy is pleased to announce his nominations to the United States Service Academies. Nominees were selected in a competitive process in which a number of highly qualified high school students from California's 23rd Congressional District applied for consideration.  

“Before their high school graduation, these students have decided to take on the immense responsibility of service to their country,” said McCarthy. “Their willingness to raise their right hand and commit to a career of service speaks volumes of their character and potential. They are the future officers of our Armed Forces, and I could not be prouder to have young students from our communities preparing to lead the charge in helping to keep our country safe.”



United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO (USAFA)

Principal Nominee: 
Holtman Dunham, 17, Joshua Christian High School (homeschool), California City, CA, son of John and Vicki Dunham.

Competing Alternates:

  • Lynlee Davis, Porterville High School, Porterville, CA
  • Trevor Frisbee, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (2019 Sherman E. Burroughs High School graduate, Ridgecrest, CA)
  • Noah Hinckley, San Diego State University (2019 Quartz Hill High School graduate, Quartz Hill, CA)
  • Alexander McEwen, Exeter Union High School, Exeter, CA
  • Caroline Pillers, Sherman E. Burroughs High School, Ridgecrest, CA
  • Cooper Rudnick, Liberty High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Sharon Sanders, Paraclete High School, Lancaster, CA
  • Jacob Sibayan, USAF Academy Preparatory School (2018 Monache High School graduate, Porterville, CA)
  • Nathan Smidt, Bakersfield Christian High School, Bakersfield, CA
     

United States Military Academy, West Point, NY (USMA)
Principal Nominee:
Magnus Loken, 16, Tehachapi High School, Tehachapi, CA, son of Solve and Alisha Loken.

Competing Alternates:

  • Brady Foisy, Sherman E. Burroughs High School, Ridgecrest, CA
  • Ashton Gaines, Bakersfield Christian High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Jasmine Garza, Independence High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Kara McCormick, Lancaster High School, Lancaster, CA
     

United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)

Principal Nominee:
Ashton Gaines, 18, Bakersfield Christian High School, Bakersfield, CA, son of Jeff and Laura Gaines. In addition to receiving the principal nomination to the Naval Academy, Ashton also received a competing alternate nomination to West Point.

Competing Alternates:
  • Brandon Birka, Tehachapi High School, Tehachapi, CA
  • Johnny Ferguson, Desert Junior-Senior High School, Edwards AFB, Edwards, CA
  • Alexander McEwen, Exeter Union High School, Exeter, CA
  • Jonathan Rentfro, Stockdale High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Nelson Rios, Greystone Preparatory School at Schreiner University (2019 Quartz Hill High School graduate, Quartz Hill, CA)
  • Brandon Self, Tehachapi High School, Tehachapi, CA
  • Nathan Smidt, Bakersfield Christian High School, Bakersfield, CA

 

United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY (USMMA)

Principal Nominee:
Faerich Nieva, 17, Independence High School, Bakersfield CA, daughter of Bryan Reed and Emma Nieva.

Competing Alternates:

  • Brandon Birka, Tehachapi High School, Tehachapi, CA
  • Arianna Cardenas, Foothill High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Ireland Comstock, Liberty High School, Bakersfield, CA
  • Johnny Ferguson, Desert Junior-Senior High School, Edwards AFB, Edwards, CA
  • Kara McCormick, Lancaster High School, Lancaster, CA
  • Sharon Sanders, Paraclete High School, Lancaster, CA

McCarthy designated one principal nominee for each academy that will fill one of five slots afforded to him as a Member of Congress at each academy. He also nominated a slate of competing alternate nominations for each academy that will be ranked according to their competitiveness by the Academy Admission Board and selected for admission at the academy’s discretion.

Some applicants received a nomination to more than one academy according to the rank preference listed on their application. The academies traditionally notify the alternates by April whether or not they will be offered an appointment. Principal nominees are notified in February or late March.

Each candidate was interviewed by Congressman McCarthy’s Academy Interview Committee in November and the selections were submitted to the Congressman. The Academy Interview Committee members were: Cam Martin, retired External Affairs Director at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center; Colonel Sean Bradley, flight test engineer and 412th Electronic Warfare Group, Edwards AFB, (1996 USAFA graduate); Miles Muzio, chief meteorologist at KBAK TV, Air Force veteran; Terrie Bernardin, retired educator and principal at West High School, Bakersfield, CA; Les Clark, Jr., District Administrator, West Side Recreation and Parks District and member of the Taft Union High School Board of Trustees.