TRUCKEE, Calif. — Mackenzie A. Spaich of Truckee has been awarded an appointment to the United States Naval Academy for the class of 2016. Mackenzie is currently attending Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno, Nev. and upon graduation will enter the Naval Academy for summer training in July.
The Naval Academy is the undergraduate college of the Navy and Marine Corps. It is a four-year honor, integrity and leadership laboratory that uses a total-immersion program to blend academics, professional training, leadership experience, physical education, competitive sports and extracurricular activities. Graduating with a bachelor of science, midshipmen receive Commissions as ensigns in the U.S. Navy or as 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps.
After graduation they are sent to technologically intensive training programs and then assignments in aviation, submarines, warships, or other exciting operational fields.
Mackenzie Spaich took a few moments from her busy schedule to chat with the Sierra Sun.
Sierra Sun: When did your interest in pursuing an appointment with the Naval Academy begin?
Spaich: My interest in the Naval Academy began in my freshman year when I started looking into schools for soccer and academics. I found the academy and was constantly encouraged by my principle to go for it. After have conversation with the coaches, I was encouraged to attend their summer seminar. I decided to apply and was fortunate enough to be admitted. Summer Seminar is what truly sold me on the academy because it allowed me to take a step in to the life of a midshipman and I instantly fell in love with everything about the academy. The history, what it stood for, and the academics all added up plus the ability for me to give back to my country and serve in the United States Navy. All around the academy was just the best fit for me and I absolutely love it there.
Sun: What goals did you achieve in preparation?
Spaich: I have always taken the most rigorous curriculum possible in order to prepare me for college. I have taken multiple AP and honors classes in order to have the best chance to get into my top schools. I have also kept fairly decent grades, not my ideal grades, but high enough grades to be in the top five percent of my class. Leadership, community service, and sports, primarily soccer, have been the driving forces in my high school experience and have helped me to receive this appointment. The academies look for students who have leadership roles and have passions that they are dedicated to. They are looking for the well-rounded person who can handle anything that is thrown in their path.
Sun: Are teachers, family, coaches instrumental to your success?
Spaich: My teachers and family were the most instrumental people in my life. All of my teachers at Manogue have constantly pushed me to do my best and have always made time for me to work with me and to develop my intellect. My family has been my support system. They have always been there for me when I have been overwhelmed and have helped me keep my head on my shoulders. Honestly, I probably would have fallen apart from overwork if my family didn’t keep me in check.
Sun: Do you have a particular area of interest for study?
Spaich: I plan to study in either chemistry or biochemistry. My hope is to graduate in the top 10 percent of my class at the academy in order to receive a med core designation. I wish to go to medical school in order to become a trauma surgeon.
Sun: Do you have tips for students pursuing a dream?
Spaich: One of the hardest things with dreams is there are always going to be those people who want to tear you down. You must stay true to yourself and persevere through all of the hardships that may come your way. If you have the drive and passion for something, then you are capable of anything. Always hold on to convictions and beliefs, because they will help guide you through any doubt that you may be faced with. Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Don’t choose the easy road just because you are afraid of possible failure. The more you challenge yourself, the better prepared you will become for the future.
Sun: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Spaich: I think that I would have to say mint chocolate chip if it really came down to it. I sure know that I am going to miss my sweets next year.
Sun: How long have you lived in Truckee?
Spaich: I moved up to Truckee when I was about 5 years old. Truckee seems like it has always been my home since I have been here for so long. One of my favorite things about Truckee would have to be the environment and atmosphere. I love being able to stand on my back deck and look up at the stars, their aren’t many other places where you can just sit back and experience nature like you can here.
Sun: Tell me about Bishop Manogue, why did you choose to attend?
Spaich: Bishop Manogue has definitely been one of the best decisions that I ever made. The school is truly a family, and I am going to miss every single person when I graduate this year. I have been able to strengthen my faith and develop a fantastic education. I have made life long friends who I know would do anything for me. I love everything about Manogue, it really is my second home. Being able to grow in my faith has made me a stronger, more self-confident person, and that was one of my main drives for attending. I would never trade going to Bishop Manogue, it helped drive me to making this decision to attend the Naval Academy.
Students interested in the Naval Academy may visit www.usna.edu.