Steamboat Springs High School seniors earn military academy recommendation from congressman | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs High School seniors earn military academy recommendation from congressman

Teresa Ristow

Steamboat Springs High School seniors Grant Janka, left, and Charlie Harrington, last week earned nominations from Congressman Scott Tipton to attend U.S. military service academies.

— Two Steamboat Springs High School seniors learned last week they'd earned nominations for U.S. military academies from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.

Charlie Harrington received a nomination from Tipton for the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Grant Janka earned Tipton's recommendation for acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy.

The recommendations put the seniors one step closer to acceptance into the respective academies, which are higher education institutions for prospective military members.

Tuition is covered for students in return for their commitment to serve a specific number of years in the given branch of the military after graduation.

Janka said his efforts through high school to maintain high grades and get involved in extracurricular activities was in preparation for attending a service academy.

"It's been a process all through high school," Janka, 17, said. "I've always wanted to join the Navy, and when I learned there was a school called the Naval Academy, I knew that's where I wanted to go."

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Janka's extracurricular involvement through high school has included lacrosse, ice hockey and club swimming, as well as serving as a class officer during his junior and senior years, as a student council officer and as a National Honor Society officer. He's also an officer in the high school's Rocketry Club.

Janka said he remembers the interview committee for the Tipton recommendation asking him which era he'd like to live in.

Other than the current era, Janka said he would choose to live during World War II, a time when many were going through struggles.

"It was a very important time, and the whole world was fighting for something very meaningful," he said.

Janka has also applied to other colleges, but his first choice is the U.S. Naval Academy, if he is accepted.

Harrington, 18, said the application process for receiving a service academy nomination is similar to that of a college application.

He applied for nominations from Tipton, as well as from U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, who he's' yet to hear back from.

Harrington also earned presidential nominations for both the U.S. Air Force Academy and West Point, owing to the longtime Army service of his mother, Lori Harrington, a West Point graduate who was a doctor in the Army. Harrington's father, Brian Harrington, was also an Army doctor who served 12 years.

Harrington said he's interested in a military career as a way to stand up and defend the rights of U.S. citizens.

"It's a desire to serve and be a part of something larger than myself," Harrington said.

Despite his family's military background and the nominations he's earned so far, Harrington is undecided about whether he'd choose the military were he accepted into one of the service academies.

He's also applied to 14 other colleges, including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT and Standford and would consider studying something STEM-related, such as aerospace engineering or applied mathematics.

Harrington also has a long list of extracurricular involvement at Steamboat Springs High School, including football and basketball, acting in several school plays and membership in the National Honor Society and the school's new Sexual Assault Awareness Club.

Janka and Harrington were two of 24 students earning nominations from Tipton, who received application packets from 67 students living in Colorado's Third District.

"These students have demonstrated their academic commitment; they are individuals of extraordinary moral character, and I know their love of country will make them outstanding officers," Tipton said in a news release.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow