Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 23, 2014

Wednesday Hero: Lt. Col. Jerry Coleman

Lt. Col. Jerry ColemanLt. Col. Jerry Coleman
89 years old from San Diego, California
VMSB-341, VMA-323
September 14, 1924 – January 5, 2014

Not only was Jerry Coleman a pro-baseball player, playing for the Yankees from 1949 to 1957, but he was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marines. Coleman postponed his entry in to the MLB to join the Marines. He flew 120 missions in WWII and Korea and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and thirteen Air Medals.You can read more about Lt. Col. Coleman here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Wednesday Hero Logo

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 21, 2014

Goal Setting for a Fourteen-year old

logical thinking

Understand chess? That’s a start for USNA Thanks to XKCD for comic

Can a high school freshman be goal-oriented?  Should they—or is this too early?  Though many deliberate, no one yet has invented a time machine to unring the proverbial bell. And high school requires the ringing of many academic, social and economic bells. Many future-shaping decisions become final based on these four years.

Zoe, like your sons and daughters, is thinking about which college she wants to attend. Some value just academics, and others academics and sports/fine arts/community service/a passionate involvement in something. Often contradictory, choices must be made early in the high school regarding ambitions, focus, and intents.

‘No goals’ means decisions are made for you. If you don’t commit yourself to “do” high school (work hard, take challenging classes, never never never give up even one extra-credit point on a test), then you have made a choice. It’s passive, but effective. Each time you make the decision to skip studying for one test, or make the decision to not put the extra time into one project, you shorten the height of your grasp on the future.  Too many compromises, and goals become dreams for someone ‘luckier’ than you.

To paraphrase Dylan Thomas: Never go gently into that good night. Rage against any grasp-shortening decision, any course of action that leads away from your dreams, or any choice that compromises your ability to accomplish. My daughter is trying to make a habit of completing tasks, not making excuses for inaction. It’s hard the summer before high school, but she’s trying.

Without a plan, you will be forced to react to circumstances, rather than act aggressively and passionately in your best interests. Never a good plan when you’re talking about eternity. No one cares about your future as much as you do.

And if she does care, if she takes those first and second and third steps toward being the captain of her ship, he has empowered her future.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 21, 2014

Headed for USNA? Prepare Yourself Junior Year HS

update

Here’s a summary of what your junior year in high school might resemble if your goal for college is USNA. This is based on the real experiences of a successful Naval Academy applicant, what she did for

usna

How to crack the USNA application

the four years of high school to make sure she was offered a slot at the college of her choice:

Half way there! As much time remains to reweave the frayed edges of your goals as you’ve had to unravel them. Two more years! You’re tired of studying, but feel good about what you’ve accomplished. This is the year you commit yourself to the IB program (and you’ll have to apply for a scholarship to pay for it). Your schedule for this summer:

  • Finish your IB Spanish requirement by taking summer school at the local community college. By July, you realize that it’s not as bad as you thought it would be.
  • Take Economics—a required course to graduate high school. This will help with Academic Decathlon next year and free up your senior year schedule (you already have eight classes scheduled for first semester).
  • No surprise that your friends take both Economics and IB Spanish with you—everyone trying to make room for classes.
  • No soccer—you retired. Too many classes.
  • Practice your violin. Another academic year of insufficient violining. By the end of this summer, after putting lots and lots of practice time in, you must decide if there’s a chance to pursue violin at the college level.
  • Find a mentor for your science project. You meet with one of the University of California biology department heads, and he agrees to assist. Now you must collect the required raw data, and determine the workability of your project. You are surprised that none of your friends attempt this prestigious competition. It’s not only the opportunity to accomplish independent research; it’s the chance to be noticed by the outstanding universities that participate in the judging.  As you work on this project, you hear from an acquaintance attending the California Institute of Technology.  He tells you that most incoming Cal Tech freshmen completed independent science research in high school and he wishes he had.

Junior year summer, decisions must be made. You assess where you stand in meeting your goals:

  • On track for the Naval Academy 
  • On track for the University of Notre Dame
  • On track for other top college choices

 You visit a lot of colleges to cull what you like and dislike about the college experience. Tradition is important, as well as quality of professors, class size, and availability of up-to-date teaching materials. You want a residential approach—where most students live on campus all four years. And, it’s important that you can get a job at the completion. Do corporations respect the quality of graduate, and/or does the college market their graduates to the business community? Because of your family’s experiences, unemployment has become a great motivator. Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 21, 2014

Headed for USNA? Prepare Yourself Sophomore Year HS

Here’s a summary of what your sophomore year in high school might resemble if your goal for college is USNA. This is based on the real experiences of a successful Naval Academy applicant, what she did

building a midshipman

How to crack the USNA application

for the four years of high school to make sure she was offered a slot at the college of her choice:

You review lessons from freshman year. High school, as expected, proved a daunting experience. So many students, everyone with their own agenda. Too many activities, each important in its own way. And teachers have their own divergent instructional methods with sometimes oxymoronic rules. So much coal to dig through to find the diamonds. Your problems started with questioning what you couldn’t change:

“Why do I have to do it that way?”

You may have been right, but the teacher ignored a poorly presented incursion into his/her teaching techniques by a fourteen-year old high school freshman with too much attitude. The ill-fated conclusion became either:

  • a) The teacher got annoyed with you and ended up not liking you
  • b) Oops—you turned out to be wrong, and this truth dawned too late to save your grade, or
  • c) You got frustrated with the whole process and gave up.

Well, to your credit, you learned the ropes. It’s over, and this summer something clicks. You realize that life’s default path isn’t your vision of the future.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 18, 2014

You Know You’re a Plebe Parent wHEN…

From one of the many USNA parent networks. It all starts with a sense of humoraerial campus

You Know You’re a PLEBE PARENT When…

  • you somehow work into every conversation that your child is a Midshipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
  • you find any excuse to break out that picture of your Plebe taken during PPW in their Summer Whites and show it to everyone you know, and even to people you don’t know!
  • You rush home from work each day to check the USNA-Net Photo Gallery and the Dropshots website for pictures of your Plebe.
  • you buy blue and gold sugar to decorate your Christmas cookies…and don’t understand why others buy green and red.
  • your other children groan, roll their eyes at you and say, “You’re Obsessed!”
  • you know that the “Yard” is not that unmowed patch of grass that surrounds your house.
  • you actually know the words to “Anchors Aweigh”
  • you skip your neighbor’s wedding to wait for that all too fast, once a week, 5 minute phone call — and then he doesn’t call til the next day!
  • you are on a first name basis with the local Post Office staff.
  • you can’t get dressed without at least one item from the Mid Store.
  • you feel guilty enjoying air conditioning during Plebe Summer and beyond. Read More…
Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 17, 2014

Goal Setting Part II

Read this post (Goal Setting for a Fourteen Year Old) and then complete this organizer:

Fill in each bubble with your eight most important goals by the time you graduate from high school.

Fill in each bubble with your eight most important goals by the time you graduate from high school.

When you’ve finished, scroll down and check out what Zoe wrote:

Here are Zoe's eight most important goals for high school

Here are Zoe’s eight most important goals for high school


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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for TeachHUB and Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, and freelance journalist on tech ed topicsCurrently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer.


Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 16, 2014

Wednesday Hero: 2nd Lt. Walter Ehlers

U.S. Army

2nd Lt. Walter Ehlers2nd Lt. Walter Ehlers
92 years old from Long Beach, California
18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
May 7, 1921 – February 20, 2014

On February 20 2nd Lt. Walter Ehlers passed away. 2nd Lt. Ehlers was the last surviving Medal Of Honor recipient from D-Day.

From his MoH citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9–10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership. Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machinegun fire, he pounced upon the guncrew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machinegun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed. The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw. At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others. Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 14, 2014

Headed for USNA? Prepare Yourself–Freshman Year HS

Here’s a summary of what your freshman year in high school might resemble if your goal for college is USNA. This is based on the real experiences of a successful Naval Academy applicant, what she did for the four years of high school to make sure she was offered a slot at the college of her choice:

Lou Holtz, the University of Notre Dame’s erudite ex-coach, once exhorted, “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.”

usna applicants

How to crack the Naval Academy application

High School is like the second half, and you’re about to find out if you’re a winner. At this uncertain precipice, all students are equal, crossing the freshman threshold with the same opportunities, and same possibilities for their future. The 4.0 student stands shoulder to shoulder with the star athlete, and the C student who aspires to nothing more than minimum wage work has an equal chance that inspiration will strike. Every one approaches the starting line, not knowing if the race will be won with brains, hard work, willpower, or intensity of desire. All over the country, freshman year equates to making decisions and growing up. Too many changes to think about where to go to college!

But, if you believe that—which you don’t—you’ve missed the opportunity to judiciously select the first steps and the first path leading to your future.

Over the summer, you try to organize the next four years:

  • Set up an Excel spreadsheet to track high school accomplishments. Whatever college you apply for will require a list of accomplishments during high school. It includes categories for ‘Academics’, ‘Awards and Honors’, ‘Sports’, ‘Community Service’, ‘Leadership’, and ‘General Information’ (See the Appendix for an example of Maggie’s spreadsheet). You record everything—no matter how insignificant they seem at the time (even the first place trophy for the twice-delayed Egg Drop Contest), because what seemed important several years ago blurs with the passage of time.
  • Sign up for the twelve-game high school summer soccer league. You love soccer, not yet discouraged by losses, internal politics, poor coaching or insufficient play time. Your achievement in this violent sport derives from hard work rather than raw talent (unlike the enduring success you enjoy playing classical violin).
  • Practice practice practice your violin, tweaking accomplished repertoire and disciplining de rigueur pieces for orchestral try-outs, performances and college auditions. You are well-familiar with conventional repertoire like ‘Meditation de Thais’ and Lalo’s ‘Symphonie Espagnole’, but some of the classics from Bach and Vivaldi take years to perfect. At this confluence of childhood and maturity, the string community in your area already claims you as a public school success story. You have been selected for many Honor Orchestras, concertmaster at your middle school (and about-to-be the first freshman concertmaster of the high school orchestra), and first violin with Pacific Symphony’s youth orchestra.
  • This life-decision has yet to be made:  Do you pursue your passion for music, or an academic path pursuing your equivalent love of science and math? Not a decision a fourteen-year old need make the summer before her freshman year in high school. At this juncture, you still pursue both—playing in three local orchestras while beginning independent research for the Siemens Westinghouse Science Competition—due early your senior year.
  • Retake Algebra to help your GPA (got an A the second time). You know your high school classes will be crazy.
  • Take a practice SAT 
  • Read recommended classical literature.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 9, 2014

Wednesday Hero: Rear Admiral Eugene Fluckey

U.S. Navy

Rear Admiral Eugene FluckeyRear Admiral Eugene Fluckey
93 years old from Annapolis, Maryland
October 5, 1913 – June 28, 2007

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Barb during her 11th war patrol along the east coast of China from 19 December 1944 to 15 February 1945. After sinking a large enemy ammunition ship and damaging additional tonnage during a running 2-hour night battle on 8 January, Comdr. Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 25 January, located a concentration of more than 30 enemy ships in the lower reaches of Nankuan Chiang (Mamkwan Harbor). Fully aware that a safe retirement would necessitate an hour’s run at full speed through the uncharted, mined, and rock-obstructed waters, he bravely ordered, “Battle station — torpedoes!” In a daring penetration of the heavy enemy screen, and riding in 5 fathoms [9 m] of water, he launched the Barb’s last forward torpedoes at 3,000 yard [2.7 km] range. Quickly bringing the ship’s stern tubes to bear, he turned loose 4 more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining 8 direct hits on 6 of the main targets to explode a large ammunition ship and cause inestimable damage by the resultant flying shells and other pyrotechnics. Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the Barb through to safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Comdr. Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service. Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 8, 2014

USNA 2018 Plebes Are Here

In case you missed it, here are the newest USNA Plebes:

usna class of 2018

 


 

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for TeachHUB and Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, and freelance journalist on tech ed topicsCurrently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, with questions.

 

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 7, 2014

How to Think (Critical Skill #5 for Future USNA Applicants)

If you read the freshman year critical skills post, you know this is the fifth. We’ve covered:

If you’re an honors student taking AP and IB classes, How to think sounds easy. That’s what you do all day. Take the hardest classes and get good grades.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 4, 2014

Happy July 4th!

It’s America’s birthday and I’m celebrating. My son is visiting from Ft. Bliss on a four-day. He drove over, driving back, but I’m so happy he thinks it’s worth it (I’m in California). My daughter’s in DC with the Navy–we’ll talk. I thank both of them and every other service member who accepted the calling to protect our nation’s freedoms.

God be with all of you.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 3, 2014

Plebe Summer Care Packages: Here’s What to Send

Your Mid is permitted to receive packages of “Goodies” from home as often as you care to send them.  It is best to keep them on the small side (standard shoebox size) and send them more often.

We (past Plebe Summer parents) suggest the following items for almost any Mid…

For Plebe Summer…     No junk food !

  • Power Bars, Granola Bars, Dried Fruit
  • Water-packed Tuna (Pop-tops only)
  • Small Cans of Fruit or Applesauce (Pop-tops only)
  • Cup-o-Soup, Beef Jerky
  • Juice boxes
  • Rolls of quarters for the vending machines
  • Mole skin for blisters
  • Duct Tape (just because)
  • Bandages
  • Spray sunscreen
  • A Bar of their Favorite Soap
  • A small AMERICAN FLAG (4″ x 6″ with a small display stand)
  • Cleaning Supplies–White School Chalk to cover marks on White Uniforms
    Shout Wipes for stains, White-Out for quick toudh up on shoes
    Febreze (very important for Plebe Summer) Read More…
Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 2, 2014

Wednesday Hero: Ssgt. William Guarnere

This post was suggested by SJU.S. Army

SSgt. William GuarnereSSgt. William Guarnere
90 years old from Philadelphia, Penn.
Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
April 28, 1923 – March 8, 2014

SSgt. William “Wild Bill” Guarnere passed away three weeks ago at the age of 90. SSgt. Guarnere was part of Easy Company, made famous by the HBO mini-series “Band Of Brothers”. During his three years of service, SSgt. Guarnere saw action throughout Europe, including being part of the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. He was awarded the Silver and Bronze stars, the Purple Heart and the French Liberation Medal.You can read more about SSgt. Guarnere here and here
Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 30, 2014

July To Do List for USNA Applicants

partial photo credti: NemoDepending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be

happy you’re done. Move on to the next:

First Steps:

If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.

Here are two books to get you started:

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 27, 2014

USNA Weekly News

Every week, I publish a newsletter with the latest information on USNA and related articles. Click the image below to read. When you’re there, feel free to share it with friends and subscribe so you receive it in your mailbox weekly:

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 25, 2014

Wednesday Hero: Lt. Milton Ricketts

This post was suggested by MichaelU.S. Navy

Lt. Milton RickettsLt. Milton Ricketts
28 years old from Baltimore, Maryland
USS Yorktown (CV-5)
August 5, 1913 – May 8, 1942

For extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. Yorktown in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the Yorktown by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lt. Ricketts’ battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lt. Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 24, 2014

Why Attend USNA?

We come from a Navy family. My grandparents, parents, Zoe’s brother. All enlisted. Zoe’s the first to show people-usnaenough interest, she’d plan ahead to get into USNA. We went to an Academy night offered by the school district. Freshman year is not too early. She signed up on a list, talked to a mid already attending. They assured her if she didn’t start now, it would be harder next year.

What surprised us was why they attended. I expected it was because they wanted to serve their country, especially now in time of war. They did, yes, but it was as much the quality of education that got their attention. The United States Naval Academy provides one of the most prestigious educations available. The caliber of classes, professors, and students are unmatched anywhere in the country.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 23, 2014

Are You Going to I-Day? Part II

Here’s Part I. When you’re done reading that, here’s more info from the USNA website on how to prepare:

Induction Day Information

plebes-sailing.jpgUSNA Gate access for Induction Day:

30 June and 1 July Gate Access (I-Day minus one and I-Day)

  • Gate 8 Open 24 hours a day for both vehicles and pedestrians
  • Gate 1 Vehicle Traffic: 5:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Gate 1 Pedestrian Traffic: 6:00 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Gate 3 Pedestrian Traffic: 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Gate 3 Vehicle Traffic:
    6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: INBOUND traffic only
    9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: CLOSED
    3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: OUTBOUND traffic only
    6:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m.: CLOSED

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | June 21, 2014

A Dispassionate Observer

I’m sharing this with you so you can make up your own mind on the subject of…

president bush

 

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CSG Master Teacher, a USNA columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, and a weekly contributor to Today’s Author. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers next summer.

 

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