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Chambersburg senior hopes to follow in grandpa's footstep

June 02, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Ella Starr's summer vacation after high school graduation will be cut short by her entrance into the U.S. Naval Academy less than 48 hours before Independence Day.

"I wanted to serve my country all my life and be a surgeon," Starr said.

Starr, 18, will graduate from Chambersburg Area Senior High School with about 700 other students on Friday. Time after graduation will be spent in continued work at Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and preparation for the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Starr plans to "just prepare physically and memorize military stuff like ranks."

She said that of the 12,000 annual applicants to the prestigious school, only 1,200 will be in her class. Her grandfather, Donald L. Wagaman II, has been chosen to swear in Starr at the ceremony.

Starr, who was accepted at the academy in March, said she hopes to follow in her grandfather's footsteps in the Navy. She has four years of classes in the chemistry program and five years of active duty before her.

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The lifelong Chambersburg resident said she's most looking forward to learning the precision marching associated with military drills. She has participated in many sports, but holds a special place in her heart for her traveling ice hockey team.

"I run five days a week and do sit-ups and push-ups," Starr said.

Starr's parents, Trent and Beth Gadberry, took her on a cruise recently to celebrate her accomplishments. She also plans to use senior week at Ocean City, Md., as a way to say goodbye to friends, whom she anticipates missing greatly.

Starr, who has a 4.13 scholastic average, said she feels it is important to ensure that you're fully committed to the idea of the Naval Academy before applying.

"You have to be 100 percent certain that's what you want to do," she said.

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