CONCORD — On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the Concord Public Library’s auditorium was packed with Cabarrus County Superintendent Chris Lowder, School Board members from Cabarrus and Rowan counties, Concord City Council members, parents, and Congressional nominees seeking an appointment to one of the U. S. service academies.
Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican from the 8th District, was responsible for the gathering of the nominees from local high schools in his area from Cabarrus County to Cumberland County. After being introduced, he shared that after spending last week in Washington fighting over spending, that is was nice to be in Concord among friends.
Hudson went on to thank the committee members who interviewed the high school students who applied for a nomination to a service academy, and said they helped to select the best of the best students to represent North Carolina.
“The best part of my job is to meet young people like you,” he said.
Hudson reminded the students that not everyone receiving a nomination will get an appointment, but that they should hold their heads high because they will continue to be successful. Hudson added that these were outstanding students, and he was lucky to get to know each of them through the nomination process.
Members of Congress are authorized by law to nominate candidates for appointments to the four U.S. service academies: the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy. The U. S. Coast Guard Academy is the only service academy that does not require a congressional nomination for an appointment. When a student graduates from a service academy, they are commissioned officers in the U.S. Military or Merchant Marines for a five-year commitment.
The ceremony on Saturday was to honor 15 candidates that had received a coveted Congressional nomination to a service academy. Among the candidates was Stanly County’s Benjamin Ostrander, a senior at Gray Stone Day School. Ostrander was nominated by Hudson and has received his appointment to begin in the summer of 2018 at the United Stated Military Academy at West Point. Ostrander and his parents are happy and a bit anxious for this new adventure. Ostrander said that he has always had an interest in the military, and this spark came from his dad’s service in the U.S. Army. He looks forward to serving in the military and being able to get a great education at West Point. He wants to major in psychology and plans to serve in the infantry.
Ostrander enjoys swimming competitively — he finished 11th in the 50 meters and 17th in the 100 meters freestyle swimming at the state finals. He is also an active member at Annunciation Catholic Church in Albemarle.