In Processing Day (First Day at the US Air Force Academy)

David wearing the Hopewell Valley Track and Field shirt. 

David Choi, Son of Hopewell

 

David Choi was raised in Hopewell Township and is a young man who benefited from the Hopewell Valley School District’s excellent academic program. Indeed, he attended Stony Brook Elementary School in Kindergarten then went to Timberlane Middle School,  and finally graduated from Hopewell Valley Central High School on June 20, 2019.

When most seniors are enjoying the summer traveling, working, volunteering, and relaxing before the start of the college year. David is currently at a six-week intensive boot camp among 1,147 cadets selected across the country who were given the honor to be appointed at the prestigious US Air Force

Academy located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This training will be one of the toughest these cadets will experience in their 4 years at the Academy. It is a process intended to eliminate anyone who is not mentally or physically fit for becoming a leader in the USAFA. Upon graduation, all cadets are promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and awarded a commission to serve in the US Air Force. To be in the current situation, each candidate must demonstrate academic, athletic, community involvements and extracurricular activities that make them outstanding. There is a high percentage of valedictorians, team captains, outstanding athletes, and leaders representing their community. Every year, more than 10,000 students apply to the US Air Force Academy and only 1,147 were picked this year for the class of 2023. The admission process is extremely rigorous due to high academic, athletic, and medical requirements. Unfortunately, the latter is something that is beyond anybody’s control such as for some genetic conditions or certain medical conditions that would pose a problem while serving on the battlefield.

Also, the uniqueness of the military academies is that a nomination from the President of the United States, Vice-President, Senator, House representative and a few other sources must be secured.

David was able to receive the nomination from Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman representing New Jersey’s 12th District which includes Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Union County. This 12th Congressional district is well known for the Princeton, West-Windsor Plainsboro, Montgomery, East Brunswick, and other excellent school districts. Approximately 10 candidates for each military academy are given a nomination on a strict selection process requiring a dozen essays and interviews with academy representatives then the academies offer appointments to top candidates to represent all parts of the country. This extremely competitive application process takes a year from Junior until Senior year which is a period where students have to take SAT, ACTs, AP, and Honor classes.

David was able to meet all the above requirements and was offered an appointment from Lt. Colonel Doyle representing the US Air Force Academy at the Hopewell Valley Central High School’s Academic Awards Ceremony on June 13, 2019. After spending a week celebrating high school graduation with his group of friends, David flew to the USAFA with his dad for I- Day (In Processing Day) where his first day at the Academy will start a long journey to become one of the finest officer in the US Air Force.

 

David was inspired to join the military when he joined the US Naval Seacadet Corp John T. Dempster Jr. Division in Lawrenceville, NJ which was ranked 3rd in the nation, among 400 Seacadet divisions across the country. This program for teenagers from 10 years old through Senior grade in High School led by CO Mike Treacy and currently by CO David Sheets taught him the basics of military and the sense of service for the community and country, but also gave him the military bug when he attended the Hopewell Veterans’ Memorial event and met Colonel Baker and other incredible war heroes. During one of the playing of the National Anthem, he realized that he wanted to join the military. This love for the country grew increasingly during the 4 years he spent in this amazing program that shaped the great young man and citizen he is now. There is a twist of fate to David’s story, a few days before the senior graduation ceremony, David as all the students who attended Stony Brook Elementary School was given a letter he wrote in fifth grade and asking to write about how they see themselves in 5 years and later in life. In the letter kept in a time capsule, David wrote that he wanted to become a scientist or an Air Force pilot.

Over the years, he completely forgot that he wrote this letter and was completely shocked when he read it for the first time after so many years. David will always remember all the love and incredible support from Ms. Buono (Academic Advisor), teachers especially Mr. O’Brien, principals, and Amazing group of friends that made David the fine young man he is today. This is why on I-Day, David was proudly wearing the Hopewell Track and Field Shirt displaying the high school mascot Bulldog. He is so proud to be from Hopewell.

 

A special thanks to: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Ms. Petra Gaskins, Ms. Buono, Mr. O’Brien, Coach Caldwell, Coach Johnson, Coach Bailey, Coach Momo (Princeton Tigers Water Polo), CO David Sheets, CO Mike Treacy, LCDR Debbie Treacy, Stephen Treacy, Brian Sheets, Elizabeth McDonald, The Dempster family, CO Troche, Colonel Shubert, Mr. Whitworth, Principal Wilfing (Stony Brook Elementary), Dr. Treece, Principal Smith, Vice-Principal Pinelli, Mrs. Ferencheck (nurse), Alyce Murray, Liz Muoio, Bill Cleave, Rev. Huh, Dr. Pilitsis, Mr. Schwartzer, Mrs. Passerella, Mr. Parkinson, Ms. Barzilai, Ms. C. Allen, Mr. N. Johnson, Ms. Thorwart, Mr. D. Sherwin, Mr. Tkacs, Ms. Siris,  Colonel Baker and the Hopewell Veterans’ Association, Mr. Markulec, Sun Park, Bryan Park (USAF), Sungrim Kim, Christine O’Shaughnessy, Capt. Clearwater (USNA Ret.), Mr. Close, Ms. Brunetti, Ms. Hail, John Avanzato, Travis Becker, Brandon Bowman, Steven Doldy, Dylan Hobson, Aaron Lieboff, Ian McIntosh, John (Jack) Muoio, Kevin Murray, Chukwuka Obidike, Brennan Rouse, Grayson Russo, Koji Sakano, Austin Wyckoff, Lieboff family, Alisa Voronkova, Dr. Isaac Y. Kim (MD), Mr. Knott, Mr. Amantia, Master Victor Kim (Taekwondo), Dan Amon, Justin Venezia, Dr. Paula Zollner, ..  all the great teachers and friends from HVRS District and Superintendent T. Smith. We may have omitted some names, please forgive us and we will thank you in person when David will come back home.

 

 

 

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