Mundy’s Mill High School students Breanna King, second from left, and Briana Stokes and Lovejoy High School student Horatio Brown, center, were formally nominated by Congressman David Scott (D-Ga.), right, for service academy appointments over the weekend. Also pictured are state Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro), left, Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, third from right, and Mundy’s Mill High School Principal William Green. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)
SMYRNA — Mundy’s Mill High School senior Briana Stokes dreams of one day serving as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Air Force.
She said she’s known since she began attending Mundy’s Mill four years ago that she wanted to be a JAG officer, which is like an attorney who handles cases in the military. She told the school’s ROTC instructor, Col. Raymond King, about her aspirations and began working toward that goal.
“And here I am in the 12th grade and I’m taking the steps necessary to make that dream come true,” she told a group of ROTC officials, high school students, parents and elected officials from across six counties over the weekend.
And although her goal calls for her getting an elite appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, she got a little help on that part from Congressman David Scott (D-Ga.) Saturday. Stokes was one of three Clayton County students Scott formally nominated for service academy appointments at a ceremony held in Smyrna.
In addition to Stokes, fellow Mundy’s Mill student Breanna King was also nominated for an Air Force Academy appointment while Lovejoy High School senior Horatio Brown was nominated for an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, in West Point, N.Y.
In all, Scott nominated 31 residents from across his congressional district for service academy appointments over the weekend. Officials at each service academy will look at Scott’s nominees and consider whether they should be granted appointments.
“There is nothing more touching than this ceremony,” Scott said. “You’re hearts have got to swell with pride for these young men and women who want to serve their nation through service in the military.”
As each student got up to receive their formal nomination certificate, they explained their motivations for wanting to attend a service academy.
For King, that motivation comes from an experience she had when she began attending classes at Mundy’s Mill High School. Her dream, she said, is to be a leader in the military that future generations of high school students can look up to as a positive role model.
“In ninth-grade, I sat in my ROTC class I looked up to the different leaders and I realized that’s what I wanted to be, so that’s what really gave me my motivation,” King said.
Meanwhile, Brown said he believed an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy would help him accomplish his dream of doing something important with his life.
“My focus was to always do something great but I didn’t really know what that was until a couple of months ago when I found out about this opportunity,” he said.
Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn Dixon praised the students as patriotic citizens who want to give something back to their nation. She said its a rare quality and that Americans should do more to instill that type of patriotism in many more young people.
She pointed to all of Scott’s nominees as examples of the type of people who can revive that patriotism.
“What a great example for them to not only serve our country but have a willing mind and heart to say, ‘I love the United States of America,’” Dixon said. “We need to instill that back in our kids today so they’ll know it’s our country. We’ve got to have great love for it and there’s great leaders ahead who can do that.”