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Two RHHS students earn congressional appointments
Kingston Kaleb-Jenkins
Kaleb Jenkins

Local residents Virginia "Ginny" Freeman and Kaleb Jenkins received congressional nominations from Congressman Jack Kingston for their plans to attend a U.S. military academy in the fall. Kingston announced the nominations Thursday.

Freeman is a graduate of Richmond Hill High School and about to finish her freshman year at Georgia College and State University. She accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and her induction is July 2. Jenkins is getting ready to graduate from RHHS and will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col., starting with his induction June 26.

They are among 18 students in the First District who received nominations for the Class of 2012. The nominations are necessary to attend a military academy school.

Freeman said it’s always been a dream of hers to go to the USNA. Her father attended and her brother graduated in 2002.

"In high school, I always wanted to go – but not just because my family had," she said. "I feel like it’s where I should be. Having such a passion for the military, I felt like it’d be a waste not to do it. I really like the idea of being there and doing something like this for my country and being challenged on a daily basis."

Freeman said the detailed application process included three to five letters of recommendation, SAT scores, a resume of student and community involvement and an essay about why she feels she should go to the USNA.

"There was a panel of 10 people I had to go through," Freeman said. "They asked a lot of random questions; one was to describe myself in one word. It was hard to do on the spot, but I picked ‘driven.’"

Freeman’s immediate family lives in Richmond Hill, including her parents, Lisa and Gary, and her sister Mary Beth. Her brother Matthew is currently stationed in Japan and Mary Beth’s husband, Mike Macias, is stationed in Iraq and will be returning home this summer. Freeman said she’s got a lot of family in Virginia and is looking forward to having them close by while she’s at the USNA.

Jenkins said he will be the first in his family to attend a military academy, though his uncle was in the Army.

"It’s been a long road but it was really exciting to receive this nomination," he said. "I had looked at other academies and talked to a lot of people. Many of them told me, if I had a choice, I should go to the Air Force Academy."

Jenkins said swimming was one of the biggest factors in his decision, because he’ll be joining the team next year.

"It came down to the swimming programs and I had a choice between some of the academies but I liked the Air Force team a lot when I met them during my recruitment visit – and I also like airplanes," he said.

Jenkins has lived in Richmond Hill for the past couple years, after moving from Los Angeles, Calif. His parents are Mike and Kim, older sister Kara and younger brother Preston who attends RHMS.

Rob Asbell of Jack Kingston’s office said the nominees started the application process a year ago. They receive about 50 applications each year, roughly half of which are interviewed and 10 to 20 students receive nominations. Richmond Hill High School has always sent good candidates, Asbell said.

"These young men and women have a strong desire to serve our country," Kingston said. "They are top students, great athletes, active in their communities and churches and leaders among their peers. It is good to know that we have people of such caliber to lead our nation in the future."

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