The key to candidacy at the academy is simple: achieve good grades in challenging college prep courses, hone your competitive spirit by participating in athletics, and sharpen your leadership skills by serving your community.
Curious of the opportunities and achievements of midshipmen and officers at the academy, a 5th and 6th grade combination class at Howard Pence Elementary School in San Diego, Calif., reached out to Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter to ask advice about setting and achieving goals.
The students, taught by Ruthann Womer, are learning about the military and the importance of setting short and long-term goals for themselves. Womer is the wife of retired Capt. Bob Womer, one of Carter’s company-mates from the Class of 1981.
“They wanted to write to find out more of how they can set goals for themselves and work to achieve them,” said Womer. “We do a lot of work on goal setting, and even though they are still young, they are beginning to make the connection that if they set their mind to accomplish something, they can be successful.”
Appreciative of their curiosity, enthusiasm, and interest in the academy, Carter personally responded to each of the letters he received from the class. In each response, Carter offered positive feedback and shared important life lessons that he has learned throughout his career in the Navy.
“To achieve your goals, you’ll need to study hard, exercise and play sports, and live up to the ideals of integrity and honor,” said Carter. “This means you have to be honest, trustworthy, help your family and friends, and try to do your very best all the time.”
Carter also offered some advice for the students that expressed an interest in joining the Naval Academy in the future.
“It’s important at this young age to understand that there are institutions, like the Naval Academy, that not only favor service above self, but the importance of working hard at school and being the best you can be,” said Carter. “Keep these things in mind, and know that the Navy is also a lot of fun. You get to travel the world, get a great education, and can learn how to navigate ships and submarines, fly airplanes, or serve in the Marine Corps.”
Along with the response letters, Carter sent a personalized copy of the book “The Naval War of 1812” by Dr. William Dudley and Dr. Scott Harmon. He also sent the class photos of the academy, his command portrait, and other Naval Academy mementos.
“It was wonderful, and believe me it had an enormous impact on their lives,” said Capt. Womer. “For a small group of kids living on the border, those small gifts meant a lot, and the responses to their questions really sparked ambition and dreams.”