Family Tradition

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Senior Jessica Broll meets Congressman Kevin Yoder at a brunch he hosted for applicants who were interviewed for nominations.Senior Jessica Broll is offered an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy

Of the 12,000 students who apply to the Air Force Academy each year, senior Jessica Broll was one of the 1,000 chosen for acceptance.

Broll’s oldest brother, Tony, graduated from the Naval Academy in 2014. He inspired her to apply for two summer seminars to get a taste of what both academies are like. Broll was accepted to both the Naval and Air Force Academy seminars, held at each academy’s location in Annapolis Maryland (Naval) and Colorado Springs (Air Force) respectively.

“Each seminar has a day where they treat you like a freshman,” Broll said. “It was our first morning they woke us up at 5 a.m. They had sirens blaring in the dorms. They pounded on our doors. They gave us five minutes to get ready. We had to memorize stuff the night before to recite back to them. They gave us a full sheet, front and back, of stuff to know: about different planes, the military alphabet, all these different rules, certain responses you can say. The next morning when they’re working out with you and you’re doing push ups, they yelled questions and stuff.”

Although it may seem intimidating, freshman day or “Doolie day” at the Air Force Academy is simply preparing potential students for what they will experience during basic training, if appointed.

“You have to be good under pressure which is why in movies, you see the drill sergeants yelling at them,” Broll said. “It’s not just to be a jerk. It’s because you will be in high pressure situations. Imagine a pilot, their plane gets shot and they panic. You can’t panic and that’s the point of it. My brother explained to me that they’re doing you a favor by doing stuff like that.”

After two weeks of attending seminars for the Naval and Air Force Academies back to back, Broll decided the Air Force Academy was more suited to her interests.

“The main reason I want to go there is because I want to study civil engineering,” Broll said. “The Air Force Academy has a civil engineering program that I really like. It’s very hands-on. build adobe houses on Native American reservations which I thought was really cool.”

The application process actually begins in early fall, when students apply for a nomination from state Congressmen or Senators. Applicants can also receive a presidential nomination if a parent has served in the military. Broll’s father was in the Air Force for 21 years.

After interviewing with Congressman Kevin Yoder and Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, Broll received nominations from all three.

“I want to be an officer in the military,” Broll said. “I don’t want to go through all this education to not be doing something that I feel is important. Serving my country is, in my opinion, is one of the most important things I can do.”

Broll will make her final decision by May 1.

“The military opens a lot of doors,” Broll said. “They do a lot of humanitarian work, especially the civil engineers. Whenever there’s a natural disaster, military personnel are there. I just want to make sure that whatever I do with my education is worthwhile and helpful to other people.”“I took a couple times over the summer but I wanted to do it after cross country season so I would maybe do better,” Broll said. “Coach Mankameyer actually did mine with me which was really awesome because he’s so kind and so supportive and so it was my last little hurrah with Mankameyer in helping me with my fitness assessment so that was fun.” Fitness assessment averages:


 

Exercise Men Women
Basketball throw 70’ 42’
Pull-ups 12 3
Flexed Arm Hang (women) 24 sec
Shuttle Run 8.4 sec 9.5 sec
Modified Sit-ups (crunches) 81 81
Push-ups 63 63
One mile run 6:12 7:03