New here - just starting on this journey

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by patesq, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. patesq

    patesq Member

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    I registered here a short time ago. Our oldest has decided to pursue an appointment to the Class of 2017 at the USNA so I am trying to learn how to best provide support. I tend to research everything (drives my DH crazy) so I’ve been reading this forum and anything else I can find.

    Academics: very strong – rising junior, currently ranked first in the class, has taken, and plans to take, heavy duty academic load of advanced, AP and college level courses, earned 5s on both AP tests taken in sophomore year (BC Calc and European History), will attend the Governor’s School for Science and Technology
    in the engineering thread this fall.

    Athletics: no high school sports but is active in martial arts (black belts in tae kwon do – 4th degree and combat hapkido - 2nd degree; assistant instructor in both) and competitive air rifle (earned invitation to the Junior Olympics the last 2 years – wants to continue shooting at the college level). Has started a running program designed by my sister, who ran track at USNA, to get in shape for NASS and plebe summer – it won’t hurt the shooting either.

    ECs: coaches middle school MathCounts team; member of and tutors for Math Honor Society; member of Spanish Honor Society; member of JV Scholastic Bowl team, co-captain in sophomore year, member of varsity team junior year; volunteers for greyhound rescue group.

    We have a family history of service, particularly with the Navy – my dad, sister and 2 grandfathers went to the USNA.

    Reading over the medical issues that cause problems, I am starting to get nervous. Student has no major issues and none current or ongoing. As an infant, had recurring ear infections; tubes were placed at 15 months which resolved the problem. Tubes fell out years ago and there are no ongoing issues. Had stitches twice as a 5 – 6 year old; no permanent damage, both were fairly superficial. Had some behavioral issues in 3rd-4th grade and was diagnosed with ODD or ADHD. Went to therapy and took meds for 6 – 9 months. Has not had any meds or other treatment since 5th grade. I’m not sure this wasn’t a misdiagnosis. Had the flu in 9th grade; missed one day of school (only grade school day missed for illness). Has seasonal allergies every spring; they are not debilitating and don’t require medical attention. Treated with OC meds (Zyrtec). Otherwise, a very healthy kid.

    If anyone has any suggestions as to how we can help him reach this goal, I'd appreciate it. We are definitely going to leave most of it to him but I want to be supportive.

    Thanks for any help,

    MidMom2Be?
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Sounds like a great kid. He's doing the right things.

    A couple of suggestions:

    A team sport. Not required by any means but desirable. He could do it during the summer.

    Leadership -- be sure he actually does something. It's not all about being president of a club. One can lead without being an officer or captain, etc. It can be in or out of school. But have him get involved in some activity that interests him and find a project or event or something that he can drive to a successful conclusion/outcome.

    Do well on SATs.

    As for the medical . . . it is what it is and you just have to go through the process. I'm NOT a doctor nor on DODMERB but, generally, ADD/ADHD issues are not a problem if there are no meds and if the candidate doesn't need any special accommodations (extra time, sitting in front row, etc.). Seasonal allergies aren't typically an issue. I had tubes in my ears as a kid -- should not be an issue if the problem was taken care of with the tubes.

    The above said, every case is different. Start gathering his medical records so that, if you need to submit anything, you have it ready. Have him get his stuff in early next year so that he gets the medical invitation early. Starting medical early gives you more time to address any issues that arise, if any do.

    Best of luck to you and your son!
     
  3. patesq

    patesq Member

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    I don't know if it helps but the air rifle is a team sport. They don't help each other while shooting but they practice and attend meets as a team; they shoot together as a team. The Academy's team is very competitive so he's quite interested in being involved with that team. He plans to contact the coach after he starts his junior year since contact prior to that isn't allowed under NCAA rules.

    Does coaching the middle school MathCounts team help here? This will be his first year as head coach; the last 2 years, he coached but upperclassmen were in charge. They graduated so, this year and next, he's in charge. He develops a study plan, tests them, selects the team that represents the middle school in competition in the spring and, hopefully, guides a team of 6th - 8th graders to a good showing in the regional match. And, his little sister is on the team so that makes it even more challenging :shake: .

    Thanks for the input here, that's the feeling I was getting from my research. I was a little worried about the cumulative aspect but it seems like they look at each item independently.

    These are good suggestions - he's had the same doctor since he was very little so this should be (knock on wood) straightforward.

    Thanks and thanks for your helpful suggestions!
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I realize Rifle is a team but it's not really the same as, say, soccer or lacrosse. As I said, not playing a team sport isn't fatal. Not playing a varsity sport isn't fatal. But USNA likes to see evidence of true teamwork. Scouting is another way to demonstrate this.

    Re the leadership issue -- anything can "count." I've told the story (in prior years) of a legal assistant in our law office who organized a drive to collect toiletries for a women's shelter. She took our floor from last place (for 8 consecutive years) to first place solely with her efforts, which I won't detail here. It was exemplary leadership from one of the lowest "ranks" in a law firm.

    The point is that it's not the position you hold, it's what you do. A teacher will know if you do something truly exemplary at school b/c everyone will be talking about it and thus it's likely to show up in the teacher rec. Your BGO will probably ask what you do to lead, and the right answer isn't: "I'm President of X club." Because . . . the next question will be: "What do you actually do as president of X club?"

    With medical issues, it is item by item, not cumulative. Any medical issue can result in a disqualification. The question then is whether one gets a waiver for each issue. I suppose that, if a candidate had multiple disqualifications -- especially if some were serious, such as asthma or color blindness -- that a SA could say, "too many problems." But I've not heard of that being the case. Typically, the question is the seriousness of the issue (and its potential impact on future military service) and the willingness of the SA in question to waive that issue.
     
  5. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Patesq, good advise given. Get the last 10 years of medical records handy. DS (USMMA 2015) also had ADD diagnoses in 2nd grade. He took meds off and on for a few years. I think misdiagnosed as well. However I went along with it and even encouraged it as Ritalin changed my life at the age of 35! :thumb: I thought I was doing the right thing for him. It wasn't. Anyway he has not had any symptoms worthy of comment since and has subsequently became heavily involved in swimming, the best drug in the world, I am convinced! We did get a remedial from DODMERB as was expected. Submitted all records and statement from his doctor stating he has not been on meds since 6th grade. Our school was also asked to submit a statement stating DS wasn't eligible for any special accommodations and was on track for an Academics honors diploma. As a matter of fact the guidance counselor was very surprised at the request. We have a very small school and they had no idea DS ever had any issues. ( hey it was the 90's right? All the cool parents were doing it, :redface:)
    Anyway by having this information at hand I was able to turn around and complete the DODMERB issue within hours! Hours! My advice is to start this process as soon as he eligible. I think we beat the rush and it worked seamlessly. How often do you get to say that about a government agency? Best of luck! Be prepared. But watch out, Service Academy Forums is very addictive! :thumb:
     
  6. patesq

    patesq Member

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    Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions - I'll get to work on the medical records and DS can get to work on the rest. His plan is to apply to NASS as soon as it's available in February so that should get things rolling.

    I am quickly discovering addicting the Service Academy Forums can be!
     
  7. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Last year at the is time I was reading the following threads everyday:
    Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, ROTC, Nominations, Service Academy Parents, DODMERB and Off Topic every day! And I was backtracking and reading some from the first post on. Of course filling in my spare time with USNA, AFA and USMA! I lost my family life and my figure doing so :shake:
    Be warned!

    Be warned.
    :eek:

    You know if I had attached the iPad to treadmill,,,,,,,,,,,,,what a great idea!
     

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