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Graves Honors Local Service Academy Appointees

Press Release

Date: June 9, 2020
Location: Dalton, GA

On Monday evening Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) hosted a virtual video call with the students from the 14th Congressional District who were appointed to attend a U.S. military academy. After being nominated by Rep. Graves, ten local students were appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy. This is the largest group to receive appointments since Rep. Graves began nominating students in 2011.

Each year, Rep. Graves hosts the academy appointees and their families for a send-off dinner, hosted with members of the appointment board and local academy student alumni. This year due to the ongoing health crisis, Rep. Graves hosted a video call instead, and had the chance to talk with each student before they begin their training.

"This year is pretty unique, not only are we doing virtually, but this is the largest class we have sent from our congressional district…we couldn't be more proud of each and every one of you," said Rep. Graves.

Catherine Farist, nominated by Rep. Graves to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2018 and is a member of the Class of 2022, joined the video call to share words of encouragement for the students.

As a member of Congress, Rep. Graves is responsible for nominating students to the military academies. The congressman uses an independent board of military advisors to review applications from 14th District students and determine who receives a nomination. Each military academy then chooses which students to appoint out of all the nominations received from across the country. The academies provide a top notch four-year college education in addition to military officer training. The students do not pay for tuition, housing, food, books and other college costs. The students instead commit to active duty military service as an officer for five years following graduation.

The student appointees from the 14th Congressional District can be seen below:

United States Air Force Academy

Margaret DiRuggerio-Floyd County, attended Stony Brook School in NY

Savanah Ledbetter-Paulding County, attended HomeSchool

Aaron Loya-Floyd County, attended Rome High
United States Merchant Marine Academy

William Connor Pitts, Paulding County, attended East Paulding High

United States Military Academy (West Point)

Joseph Arce, Paulding County, attended North Paulding High

Aidan Gaines, Floyd County, attended Rome High

Autumn Grace Keaton, Haralson County, attended Haralson High

United States Naval Academy

Chaisen Buckner, Murray County, attended North Murray High

Tyler Hunt, Gordon County, attended Dalton High

Jackson Wilkins, Dade County, attended Dade County High