MHS Alums Share Navy Experiences

While most Miramonte seniors are fixated on a normal college experience, every year a select few decide to take their experiences to the next level and attend a military academy. To see what life is like at such an academy, Mirador talks to current USNA cadet Erin Walsh ‘10 and NAPS cadet James King ‘10, as well as senior Will Lavis, a newly accepted member to the USNA class of 2015.

Q&A With:

Erin Walsh ‘10
US Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD
Class of 2015

James King ‘10
US Naval Academy Prep School
Newport, RI
Class of 2011

Q: What made you decide to want to attend your school?

Walsh: Academics, lacrosse, service to my country like my grandfather.

King: I’m going to the Naval Academy Prep School to get ready for school and football at the Academy next year.

Q: Academically and otherwise, what accomplishments helped you get in?

Walsh: Academics, extra-curricular activities both within the school setting and the community, sports, and leadership.

King: I got in entirely because of football. Most people that are sent to the prep school are recruited athletes, prior enlisted sailors or marines, and people of ethnic backgrounds.

Q: What was the hardest thing to adjust to at first?

Walsh: Induction Day was July 1, 2010, so adjusting to the humidity in Annapolis and 18 hour days of Plebe Summer.

King: Waking up at 4:30 to go run. That was the hardest thing during the indoctrination period. As for school, it’s hard to get used to not having much free time. Usually it’s less than an hour a day.

Q: Describe your daily schedule.

Walsh: Wake up at 0500, go to classes from 0755 to 1530 with meals somewhere in between. Then I go to lacrosse practice, study, and then sleep (if I’m lucky)!

King: Wake up at 5:45 and get in uniform. March to breakfast at 6:00. Clean room from 6:30 to 7:00. Then we have a formation outside before class. Class from 7:30 to 3:30 with a break for lunch in between. Football from 3:45 to 6:00. Dinner from 6:15 to 6:30, followed by another formation. Study period from 7:00 to 10:00 and then a free period from 10:00 to 11:00.

Q: What do you like most about attending a military academy?

Walsh: Intense challenge, commitment, camaraderie, dedication to country.

King: What I like most is the discipline you learn and the friends you make.

Q: Do you have any advice for Miramonte students that are interested in attending such schools?

Walsh: Check out the website, talk to current students and alums, visit the schools, get as much info as possible to help you make a decision that’s best for you. Feel free to talk to me!

King: Play Sports!

Q: Any funny or interesting experiences so far?

Walsh: No comment.

King: The first snow day we had, we were assinged to clean a few different areas, but we just had a massive 300-man snowball fight which turned into a huge brawl. It was fun.

Q: Are you happy with your decision?


King: I’m so happy with my decision. We’ll see if that changes once I’m at the Academy.

How to Apply to the Naval Academy

  • Junior year, Feb. 1
    Apply for the Summer Seminar Program: A six-day long simulation of life at the Academy.
  • 2nd 3rd or 4th week in June
    Attend the Summer Seminar at the Academy. “The seminar is brutal because the officers treat you like a plebe and try to push you beyond what you think your limits are. On one day, all of the ambulances in the county were being used by kids at the seminar,” said senior Will Lavis.
  • Immediately after seminar
    Begin the Naval Academy application. “The Academy has its own unique application that I found extremely time consuming. You ideally want to submit it by the end of August, which is pretty tough when you have to take a fitness test, get teacher recs, and write multiple essays,” said Lavis.
  • Fall of senior year
    Get assigned to a Blue and Gold Officer who serves as a mentor. Candidates must also apply for nominations by interviewing with a senator and/or congressman. “I interviewed with both Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi,” said Lavis. “The nominations I received guaranteed my admission to the Academy.”
  • When accepted
    June 30, 6 a.m.: Report at Academy. The induction ceremony is the last time a candidate can see his/her parents before plebe summer.
    July 1: Plebe summer, a six-week long type of bootcamp, begins. “Life as a plebe is probably the worst possible thing in the world,” said Lavis. “The whole point of plebe summer is to completely break you down. At the end though, you are able to achieve things that you had no idea you could do.”