Three Robert E. Lee seniors invited to attend service academies

Published on Monday, 7 April 2014 10:30 - Written by

Three Robert E. Lee High School seniors have been invited to attend two of the nation’s military service academies this fall.

Jack Oliver, 17, will attend the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and Abby Halbrook, 18, and Philip White, 18, will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, according to a Tyler ISD news release.

“In my 12 years as a high school administrator I have had two appointees from the same graduating class, but never three,” Lee Principal Gary Brown said, according to the news release.

In order to receive a military service appointment, a candidate must first receive a congressional nomination from their U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative.

The candidates are evaluated for a variety of qualifications including: moral character, strong academic record, demonstrated leadership potential, physical and medical fitness, and commitment to serve a five-year military term in the United States Armed Forces, according to the news release.

The academies award appointments after evaluating all the congressional nominations. Not all nominations receive academy appointments, according to the news release.

Jack Oliver is the third person in his immediate family to attend a military academy. His father attended West Point and his brother is a junior at the Naval Academy. He said it was regular visits to Annapolis that caused him to fall in love with the campus and the academy.

“I think it will be a great experience and a good way to serve my country,” he said, according to the news release.

Ms. Halbrook will be a member of the West Point cross-country team. She originally wanted to go to Texas A&M University in College Station. However, she was “blown away” by the opportunities at West Point.

“The team and coaches were so genuine and welcoming and really helped me through the application process,” she said, according to the news release. “I just couldn’t say no to such an amazing opportunity.”

White was inspired to go to West Point last year when his friend was going through the application process.

“I decided I wanted to use my life in service and this is the perfect way to do that,” he said, according to the news release.

All three students attribute their success in school to their parents, teachers, mentors and community members who always encouraged them to be and do their best.

Oliver is planning for a career in naval aviation. Ms. Halbrook wants to serve as medical personnel in the Army. And White plans to explore military intelligence before attending law school, and ultimately becoming a statesman, according to the news release.

“These three students, each in their own way, have demonstrated the very highest levels of character, commitment and leadership during their time at Robert E. Lee High School,” Brown said, according to the news release. “I look forward to seeing all that these outstanding students are able to achieve in the future. The possibilities for them are limitless.”