Merkley Announces Fourteen Oregonians Accepted to U.S. Military Academies

Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today announced that fourteen of the approximately 35 nominations that he put forward to the four military academies have been accepted as students for the next year. America’s military academies are among the most selective and difficult to earn admission to among higher education institutions in the U.S. The opportunity to attend a military academy provides the appointee with a full four year college education and leadership training for becoming an officer in the U.S. military.

“These students represent Oregon’s best and brightest and I’m thrilled that so many Oregonians will be getting their education and training to become our military’s future leaders,” said Merkley. “It’s an honor to nominate outstanding students to our military academies and I’m confident they will be a credit to the academies and ultimately to our Armed Forces.”

These acceptances make a total of 20 nominees accepted over the past two years and 32 nominees accepted during Senator Merkley’s first term. Over the past two years, Senator Merkley has significantly retooled his process for nominating Oregon’s best and brightest high school students and recent graduates. A panel of former military officials interviews all candidates and provides recommendations to Senator Merkley who then makes final determinations on which students to nominate to the four military academies. The students accepted this year under Senator Merkley’s nomination represent communities and high schools across all of Oregon. A few of the students are currently living either overseas or outside of Oregon while their parents are on active duty in the military.

The list of accepted students includes:

U.S. Air Force Academy:

Tristan Briggs – (Keizer, OR) Tristan is a senior at McNary Senior High School, and is ranked first in his class. He currently has a 4.0 GPA. In his sophomore year he joined the Civil Air Patrol, and since then received a Civil Air Patrol scholarship to obtain his solo pilot’s wings in a Cessna 172. Tristan also received the Air Force Association’s Squadron Cadet of the Year for Civil Air Patrol.

Trevor Browning – (Portland, OR) Trevor is a senior currently ranked 7th in his class at Gladstone High School, with a 4.04 GPA. He was elected as the 2013-2014 ASB President, and is on track to graduate with the Gladstone High School honors diploma. Upon graduating, Trevor will have played varsity football, basketball, and track all four years of high school, and is currently the captain of the varsity football and basketball teams. Trevor also dedicates his time to counseling teens and freshman at Gladstone High.

Charles Chimento – (Sherwood, OR) Charles is a current senior at Jesuit High School in Portland, with a cumulative GPA of 3.957. Throughout high school, Charles has been an Honor Roll student, and is currently a National Honor Society member and an Ignatius scholar. Charles has played varsity soccer since the ninth grade, winning two state championships and two league titles.

Aimee Herubin – (McMinnville, OR) Aimee is a senior at Amity High School, where she is currently ranked fifth in her class. Aimee has been a leader in Amity High’s Ecology Club and National Honors Society, as well as Women’s Track and Field, where she qualified to compete in the State cross country meet. Additionally, Aimee coaches elementary school students in volleyball and middle school track and field, and took an internship with Yamhill County board of County Commissioners to expand her experience in local government.

Dylan Purdom – (Toledo, OR) Dylan is ranked first in his class at Toledo Jr/Sr High School, and currently serves as the ASB student president. Dylan holds a 4.0 GPA and is the co-captain of the varsity football and baseball teams. He completed Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, Oregon Boys State, and the Ford Institute Leadership program.

Grant Van Hoomissen – (Lake Oswego, OR) Grant is a senior at Lake Oswego High School with 3.69 unweighted GPA. Grant served as an elected Senator to the Student Body Assembly during grades 9, 11, and 12, and was on the varsity wrestling team throughout his four years, becoming team captain as a senior. Grant notably became an Eagle Scout at the age of 12, and has since earned three Eagle Palms and held numerous leadership positions within the Scouting chain of command. He received the Virgil C. Pearce Superior Leadership Award from the largest troop in Oregon.

West Point – The U.S. Military Academy:

Mitchell Booth– (Damascus, OR) Mitchell is a senior at Sam Barlow High School, where he holds a 3.857 GPA. At Sam Barlow High, Mitchell participates in the school Leadership Program and he earned the Sam Barlow High School Excellence for Leadership in Student Government award. He runs cross country and participates in track and field, as well as volunteers outside of school as a youth counselor for his church. Mitchell has also been active with the Civilian Marksmanship Program and International Defensive Pistol Association, in addition to the Multnomah County Search and Rescue.

Caleb Faber – (Monterey, CA) Caleb is a senior at Faber Classical Academy, where he holds a 3.8 GPA. Caleb is actively involved in the Civil Air Patrol, has his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and has been actively involved in his community. Caleb currently lives in California because his father, who is in the Army, is stationed in Monterey.

Neha Valluri – (Portland, OR) Neha is a senior at Sunset High School, where she currently has a 3.79 GPA. Neha is the founder and president of Sunset High’s Speech and Debate Team, and throughout high school served as the state representative for Oregon Model United Nations at the University of Oregon, as well as for Key Club International. Neha is a member of National Honor Society, as well as Math, Spanish, and Science Honor Society.

U.S. Naval Academy:

Halston Hoover – (Canby, OR) Halston is a current senior at Canby High School, where he holds a 3.98 cumulative GPA and is an honors diploma candidate. Halston received the three sport athlete award for his commitment to cross-country, basketball, and baseball. In addition to his work on campus, Halston is an active leader in his church youth group, volunteering for numerous service missions in Oregon and throughout the country.

Maude Manzi – (United Kingdom) Maude is a senior at The American School in England, where she has a 3.77 GPA. Maude was awarded the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award in June 2013 for her dedication to volunteering, and was inducted into The American School’s Cum Laude Society June 2013 as a result of her academic achievements. She was also awarded the AP Scholar with Honors in 2013, and serves as the Head Day Prefect and Peer Facilitator for Restorative Justice for her school. Maude was selected to participate in the STARTALK Arabic Language Camp at BYU and an additional 8 week Arabic language immersion program in Morocco.

Grant Robertson– (Corvallis, OR) Grant is a senior at West Albany High School, where he holds a 4.0 GPA and is a valedictorian candidate. Grant was elected class president throughout the first three years of high school, and currently is the Associated Student Body President. Grant is a member of the National Honor Society, JV track and field, and West Albany’s weightlifting club. Grant received the 2012 Exceptional Social Studies Student award, and has also been recognized as a National AP Scholar with Distinction.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy:

Eric Aldridge – (Columbia City, OR) Eric is a senior at St. Helen’s High School where he is ranked first in his class, with a 4.0 GPA. Eric is the captain of his school’s varsity golf team, and participated in varsity baseball, basketball, and swimming as well. He is a member of National Honors Society as well as the Key Club.