She's prepared for Annapolis

June 01, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Luckily, 19-year-old Brittany Churchey thrives on structure and schedules.

When she joins the United States Naval Academy Class of 2011 on June 27, Churchey signs on for four years of intense study, athletics and leadership training.

She's wanted to attend the Naval Academy since her fourth-grade class visited the Annapolis campus, Churchey said.

As Churchey describes it, the organization and teamwork emphasized at the academy fit her "to a T."

Churchey, a 2006 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, applied twice before she was accepted to the academy.

She applied to join the class of 2010 but was not accepted. Churchey blamed her verbal SAT scores, which were about 30 points too low, she said. U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., nominated her, Churchey said.

She was one of 75 applicants chosen to attend a prep school and reapply to join the class of 2011, Churchey said.


She spent three months at Northwestern Preparatory in Crestline, Calif., Churchey said. Her days were spent running, working out and memorizing 20 vocabulary words a day. She also underwent inspections and etiquette classes, meant to prepare her for the academy, Churchey said.

Her SAT scores increased 300 points after the prep course, she said.

The minimum five-year commitment Churchey owes the Navy after she graduates from the academy doesn't faze her.

"It's nice to know I have a job after I graduate," she said. "Even with the war and everything."

If her time at the academy goes as planned, Churchey will study chemistry, attend medical school after she graduates, then earn her pilot's license and eventually serve as a flight surgeon.

She has always been interested in medicine and flying. Her father, Donald Churchey, volunteers as an EMT for Company 75, and other family members are doctors and nurses, she said

"It's a lot of school," she said.

Before her Navy career begins, Churchey must survive the seven-week plebe summer that those entering the Naval Academy endure. She describes the summer as "like boot camp."

She must also cut her hair, which falls below her shoulders. For her first year, her hair must be cut above the collar, Churchey said.

Because troops are fighting in Iraq, Churchey's mother, Patti Friend, was "iffy about it," when Churchey told her she was going to the Naval Academy.

But Churchey told her mother "if anything should ever happen, it's best to die while serving my country."

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