Weehawken High School (WHS) student Sophie Axtens was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy earlier this month after being nominated by Sen. Robert Menendez.
Axtens received a phone call from Sen. Menendez informing her that she was one of only 1,200 successful applicants who out of 9,700 nationwide.
The application process included a rigorous candidate fitness assessment. The Air Force assessment tested her strength, agility, speed, and endurance. Axten was required to submit her SAT and or ACT scores, her school transcript, and a personal essay.
Axtens, whose favorite subjects are mathematics and science, enjoyed tutoring underclassmen during her time at WHS, which she found “very fulfilling.”
In her application, Axtens described being on the Weehawken High School Swim Team and other extracurricular activities.
Now she will climb out of the pool and soar into the sky as part of the Air Force.
High-altitude dreams come true
Axtens has dreamed of flying rescue missions since she was a child, and plans on realizing her dream by becoming a United States Air Force rescue pilot.
“I want to serve in the U.S. Air Force because I want to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Axtens said. “It is an honor to serve my country, and I want to do that to the best of my ability.”
According to Axtens, the leadership and bravery of the Air Force troops have inspired her to live to her full potential.
“The U.S. Air Force Academy builds military officers and leaders, and one day I hope to serve alongside them,” she said.
The senior credited WHS with putting her on her upward trajectory toward the high altitudes of piloting an Air Force plane. Throughout the application process, Axtens said that the Weehawken School District puts its student’s needs before anything else.
“The Weehawken Township School District has helped me tremendously in achieving my dream of serving in the U.S. Air Force,” Axtens said. “I have had constant support from my administrators and teachers at Weehawken High School.”
Mark Perry, the Social Studies area coordinator at Weehawken High School, said he was proud of Axtens and that she will make the Air Force proud as well.
“Sophie’s reputation as an outstanding student and a class leader is well-deserved,” Perry said. “I have no doubt she’ll be as wonderful an asset at the Air Force Academy as she’s been to Weehawken High School in the classroom and in the pool as a senior member of the swim team.”
As a first-year cadet, Axtens will go to the Air Force base just north of Colorado Springs in late June for basic cadet training, before beginning classes there in the fall.
You can take the girl out of Weehawken but you can never take Weehawken out of the girl. Axtens said she will miss home but is optimistic about the future.
“I will miss my family, friends, and teachers,” Axtens said. “As someone who grew up in all three Weehawken public schools, I will also miss the close family that is Weehawken: You will never find anything else like it.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.