- Heidi Walsh
Medford High School senior Katie Smith has become one of a small group of elite students who were accepted into the United States Naval Academy.
Smith, a determined and bright girl in five Advanced Placement classes, is one of only 1,500 students selected from 17,000 applicants to this prestigious school. Only twenty percent of the applicants are women.
Smith, who is proud of her accomplishment, said, “I plan on becoming a doctor for the Navy. It is an honor to serve my country and achieve my personal dream at the same time.”
Smith is a three sport varsity athlete at Medford high school, taking up soccer, basketball and softball while balancing a heavy AP course load. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and is in the top 10% of her class.
The college admission process to a military institution is an arduous challenge beginning months before new seniors even start the college application process. Students who graduate from military schools have the lowest ranking of a lieutenant and are able to advance through the ranks with experience.
So what exactly is involved in applying to such a distinguished institution?
“Besides the headmaster and typical guidance counselor, you need to have a recommendation from [your state's] senator, who is only allowed to write ten recommendations for his state,” explained Smith. “I also had to take a physical exam which was a little bit like what you see in the movies.”
Smith’s father, a math teacher at Medford High School, credits his daughter for all of her hard work over the years.
“Katie has put in an awful lot of time and effort to make herself into a three sport varsity athlete and has taken a demanding course load. She has spent many long nights doing everything necessary to succeed. She decided what she wanted to do and has been unbelievable throughout the entire application process doing all the paperwork, and interviews and physical training as well as getting the nomination from Congressman Ed Markey,” said Smith. “Her mother and I are obviously very proud of her accomplishments.”
Smith is the oldest of her four girls. Jane, an MHS sophomore, said she is proud of her sister’s accomplishments. Younger sisters Susan and Casey also share Jane’s admiration and look up to their big sister as a model for future achievement.
Smith has won the praise of classmates and teacher alike. Ms. Horne, the senior class guidance counselor said, “Katie did this all on her own. It’s an amazing accomplishment and I praise her determination.”
Smith has always been a girl admired by her peers and they were never more proud than the day she was accepted to the naval academy.
Even headmaster Paul Krueger had something to say about this rare achievement.
“I’m pleased to announce that Katie has brought honor to not only to herself, but to Medford High School as well.”
According to Dr. Krueger, only one MHS student in the last ten years has been accepted to and has planned to enter a prestigious military or naval academy. Smith is the first female MHS student to be accepted to the US Naval Academy.
The naval academy is a place where students will not only expand their military strengths, but where students like Smith can earn advanced degrees while serving the country at the same time.
Smith said she is excited that as an undergraduate of the naval service, she will strive to accomplish its mission to develop midshipmen “morally, mentally, and physically.”