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Dublin High Senior Earns Prestigious Appointment to the US Air Force Academy

June 3, 2012

Over 12,000 applicants wanted to attend the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) next year and just over 1,000 were accepted (less than 10%). Successful USAFA applications have to be strong academically, demonstrate leadership skills and be athletic. Successful applicants also have to earn an appointment from a member of Congress, the Superintendent of Education or the President. The qualified few that are accepted attend the four-year program with all expenses paid (valued at over $400,000), earn a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation.

Dublin High School Class of 2012 senior Rebecca Beasley, based on the strength of her application, an appointment from Congressman Jerry McNerney and her skills on the soccer field, learned earlier this year of her acceptance into the prestigious United States Air Force Academy. Last year, Dublin High School Class of 2011 graduate Ben Young was accepted into and is currently attending the US Military Academy (West Point). recently met with Ms. Beasley, who is in the home stretch towards graduation (and a few weeks away from boot camp), to learn more about what it takes to get accepted into an elite military academy. How did you end up interested in the United States Air Force Academy as a post-high school option?

Rebecca Beasley: “During the summer before junior year I was playing in a soccer tournament and my dad and I were looking online at all the coaches that were coming to the games. We noticed the Air Force Academy was coming, so we emailed them. They came to my game and liked how I played. In November I went to visit the school and the campus, and it felt so right. I shadowed a freshman and went with her the whole day, talked to the soccer coaches and attended classes. People talk about having that feeling of knowing exactly where you want to go and it seemed so perfect, the order seemed so right for me.” Describe the application process for the US Air Force Academy.

Beasley: “I had to complete a written application including essays, letters of recommendation, teacher references and a resume of everything I’ve done. I had to complete a physical exam by a military medical doctor and had to pass a physical test that included a shuttle run, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and a mile run. They looked at academics, leadership and athletics. And after all of that I also had to earn an appointment to the Academy from a member of Congress (the House of Representatives or the Senate), the Superintendent of Education or the President. I ended up earning my appointment from Congressman Jerry McNerney.” What are the most common misperceptions when you tell people you are attending the Air Force Academy after high school?

Beasley: “Most people think I’m enlisting or I’m getting sent overseas, they don’t understand that I’m actually going to school. That can be a little frustrating sometimes because I worked really hard to go to a good school. People are very respectful when I tell them what I’m doing, but they mostly assume I’m enlisting.” Describe what attending the US Air Force Academy really means.

Beasley: “I will be in the Air Force, but I am going to school and will be getting my four-year college education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. I will go to class every day and am playing soccer there, it’s a Division I school, so it’s a normal college in the sense that there are academics and athletics, but the other part most colleges don’t have is the military training incorporated into the program and that everyone graduates as an officer.” Do you start your Air Force Academy experience with boot camp?

Beasley: “Yes – I leave for Colorado Springs June 27 with basic training starting June 28 which runs through August 7. We spend the first segment of basic training at the school, including a lot of physical training, camping, ropes courses – what you’d expect in a boot camp. I have a whole bunch of different emotions about basic training – nerves, excitement – at the same time I’ve had such an amazing life in Dublin and great experiences at Dublin High that I don’t want to leave, but I think I’m prepared both academically and athletically. I’m excited to go through the experience – to push myself and see what I can do.” How did Dublin High help you get accepted into a school that accepts less than 10% of applicants?

Beasley: “Most teachers and students at Dublin High are very helpful. I’ve gotten to know just about everyone – if I’ve ever had a question, or needed to come in early for help, the Dublin High community has always been available for me. Because Dublin High is a smaller school there is a sense of community. I know most of the students and the teachers and I’ve formed a relationship with many of them so when it came time for letters of recommendation it wasn’t a problem. Being really involved in the school has also helped me a lot.” Do any courses stand out during your years at Dublin High?

Beasley: “I took AP Language and Composition in my junior year and that was a course that I loved. It was so enriching and I learned so much, I definitely became a better writer, and I think it will help me in the future. I worked really hard in that class and in the first semester I ended up with an 89.46% which put me at a B+ and that inspired me to work so much harder in the second semester, and I ended up with an A. I’m not the smartest kid out there but I work really, really hard.” How did athletics play a role in your Dublin High experience?

Beasley: “I played soccer for Dublin High in my freshman year and in my sophomore year I broke my leg and was out for six months, which was a challenge. I took on the role of team manager while I was recovering. In my junior year I didn’t play high school soccer because of conflicts with my club team, but in my senior year I played soccer at Dublin High again and competed in track – it was a great experience. Playing athletics is like being in a family, I got to know freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and got a different perspective on things. Dublin High athletics played an important role in my success.” What advice do you have for students to get the most out of their high school experience?

Beasley: “Get involved. Get plugged into your classes, get to know your teachers, be involved in leadership or some sort of club. It makes high school so much more fun when you’re involved and when you feel you’re a part of something. Get involved in something.”

In addition to earning a full scholarship to the United State Air Force Academy, Rebecca Beasley earned numerous awards at the Dublin High School Class of 2012 Senior Awards Night including: Dublin Lions Club Student of the Month (April), California Scholarship Federation Life Member, President’s Gold Award for Education Excellence and a Dublin High School Advanced Scholar Diploma.

Below is video from the Dublin High School Senior Awards Night where Rebecca Beasley is introduced by US Air Force Academy representative Michelle Lee:

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