DHS grad heads to Merchant Marine Academy | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DHS grad heads to Merchant Marine Academy

A Douglas High School graduate will be embarking on a mission when he starts his four years in the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.

Jay Darran, 18, of Gardnerville, will leave for the academy July 7.

The academy is different from West Point and the Naval Academy because graduates have many options, Darran said, which is what drew him.

“I saw the choices the Naval Academy offered and the choices the Merchant Marine Academy offered and if I decide I might want to change what I want to do, I will have more options to choose from in the Merchant Marine Academy,” he said.

Graduates must become a Naval reserve, but don’t necessarily have to make a long-time, full-time commitment. They also have the choice of entering any branch of the military or none at all, Darran said.

However, he plans on joining the Navy like his father did. His brother, Scott, just completed his second year in the Naval Academy.

Darran sees his future in nuclear submarines, he said. He enjoys sailing and scuba diving with his father and thinks a life at sea is for him.

He had to go through the same interview process as other applicants and had to get a recommendation by a congressman.

Both Sen. Richard Bryan and Sen. Harry Reid recommended Darran. The selection process is so difficult because the students get a high-end education, worth about $130,000, for free.

“They want someone who is smart, but also athletic and community-minded; just well-rounded people,” he said.

Although the experience will be tough, he thinks he is the type of person who will thrive in that environment.

“I think about my friends in college who will have to be tough because they have the choice to study or go out and party. I will have it easier because I will only have to study,” he said.

The academy offers other benefits also, he said.

“When I graduation, I will get a lot more job offers and I will have the network of alumni, especially in the maritime business. People there stick together and when they graduate they are still good friends,” Darran said.

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