By Johnny Jackson
Kyle Wyrick represents a first for Dutchtown High School in Hampton.
The 18-year-old is the first Dutchtown Air Force JROTC cadet to sign with a military academy, according to Maj. Sarah Beavers, the unit's lead instructor.
Wyrick was recruited as a varsity offensive right tackle at Dutchtown to play football for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
However, he will spend his first year attending the New Mexico Military Institute, the academy's military preparatory school in Roswell, N.M.
"I'm really confident and excited about it," said Wyrick. "I consider it an honor, and I'm ready for the challenge."
Wyrick will eventually join a class of 275, chosen from some 1,500 applicants, and will be able to receive an education worth about $275,000, said U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Bob Baude. He and fellow academy admissions partner, Sherry Blomeley, welcomed Wyrick into the fold, during an official signing Friday at Dutchtown.
"I am very proud of him and all of the effort he has put into this journey," said Wyrick's mother, Alice Wyrick. "He will be far from home, and I will miss him tremendously. But I know that he is fulfilling his dream."
Kyle Wyrick said he wants to be a pilot.
"It has always been my dream to be a pilot," he said. "So, I am going to apply for flight school after I graduate."
Kyle Wyrick is set to graduate from Dutchtown on May 28, which will conclude a busy high school career.
"It has been a very memorable experience," he said. "It has not been easy, playing varsity sports, JROTC and taking Advanced Placement and Honors classes. Looking back on it, though, it has been worth it."
Kyle Wyrick attributes much of his success to those who have surrounded him throughout high school.
"I would like to credit my football coaches for teaching me to work hard and strive to be number one," he said. "I credit my teachers, especially my JROTC instructors, for teaching me responsibility. And I credit my parents for always being there for me."
Kyle Wyrick's father, James Wyrick, said the youth set high goals for himself early on, enlisting the support of a community of people that includes himself, his family, his teachers and JROTC instructors, athletics coaches and officials at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
"I feel extremely proud of his achievement, and an incredible sense of pride," James Wyrick said. "It is a great feeling to finally see him accomplish it ... Growing up, he was always quiet and studious and focused on his academics, [and] as a young adult, he has blossomed."
Kyle Wyrick, who was co-captain of his high school football team, is a member of his JROTC Unit's Competitive Drill Team and Color Guard Performance Team. As a cadet in the unit, he earned the rank of cadet captain and held the position of flight sergeant, second in command.
"Kyle Wyrick is an outstanding student, superior cadet, awesome leader," said Beavers, the Dutchtown Air Force JROTC unit lead instructor. "He is one of the rare students who can juggle his academics, athletics, and JROTC responsibilities and excel in each.
"He has worked hard each of the four years he's been in JROTC and has improved each year," Beavers continued. "His admission to the academy is very representative of his efforts and capabilities."