Summer Service – Madeline DeGraw Spends Summer at Naval Academy

Posted on 09/25/2018
Madeline DeGraw with Squad Mates

Summer break is a time all students look forward to. But while many students are sleeping in, jumping into the swimming pool, or heading out on vacation, Francis Howell North junior Madeline DeGraw did something a little more challenging. She spent a week testing her physical and mental boundaries at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS).

DeGraw was one of approximately 850 chosen to participate in the 2018 NASS. The program is highly competitive, with only 10 percent of applicants selected. Students stay at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, experience life on the Yard, and are instructed by Navy officers and midshipmen. The experience prepares them for what life in the Naval Academy would really be like.

“In a typical day, they’d wake us up at around 0500,” said DeGraw. “We’d start our day with the morning workout at 0530. We exercised around the Yard and I loved watching the sun rise over the water each morning.”

After a quick shower and breakfast, DeGraw would head to daily classes on cyber operations, weapons systems, engineering, navigation and seamanship, physics, math, and martial arts. “After classes were over, we’d do a variety of different activities depending on the day,” said DeGraw. “Sometimes intramural sports, an assembly, tours around different parts of the campus, squad bonding, etc.”

DeGraw got to experience mock Sea Trials, used to train those who attend USNA. Along with her teammates, DeGraw pushed through seven hours of physical training. “We did typical physical exercises, in addition to different activities, like rafting in the Severn, martial arts, swimming, and Log PT, where we would do sits up and other exercises as a squad while holding a giant log.”

While many students dream of college after graduating high school, there are many other paths that students can take. “I gained real insight into what life would be like if I chose to go to the Naval Academy and information on how to help me get in,” said DeGraw.

“One of the most important tasks students face is determining what they want to do after high school,” said FHN Principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler. “Madeline took advantage of an enormous opportunity in attending the Naval Academy, and that time reinforced in her mind the path she wants to pursue. Now she’s exploring every avenue to be able to move forward with what she hopes her career will be.”


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