Geneseo to Annapolis: Karl Flynn named National Merit Scholarship finalist

Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2014, 10:53 am
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By Claudia Loucks,
Geneseo High School senior Karl Flynn was recently named a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and just days ago learned he has been appointed to the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md.

The Geneseo teen qualified for the National Merit competition by taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) last year. Once scholars are selected this spring, the not-for-profit organization that works to honor the nation's scholastic champions and encourage academic excellence will grant some 8,400 scholarships totaling more than $36 million.

GHS guidance counselor Linda VanDerLeest said he may be the first student from the school to ever be appointed to the Naval Academy.

"When I was younger, I had always wanted to become a Marine," he said.

One of his cousins enlisted in 2004, he said, and he has several other friends who have enlisted or plan to enlist in either the Marine Corps or Navy, too.

He learned about the academy two years ago when his dad mentioned that one of his colleagues had attended.

"That piqued my interest," Mr. Flynn said, adding that it prompted him to research the academy online and talk with some alumni.

Applying for the academy was "somewhat similar to applying to a civilian institution," Mr. Flynn said, though a preliminary application must be submitted during the student's junior year of high school.

"If you pass this step, you must also receive a nomination from the president, vice president or a congressman; complete a fitness test," and more. He was nominated by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline.

Mr. Flynn said between the academy's programs, military training and discipline, it will be "a challenge." Students have demanding class schedules; are required to participate in a sport; receive military training to become an officer, and more, but "the demanding environment of the Naval Academy is exactly what I want," he said.

Mr. Flynn said he plans to major in mechanical engineering at the academy. After graduation, he hopes "to get a service selection for Naval Special Warfare, particularly SEAL, or Marines," he said, "either aviation or ground."

In high school, Mr. Flynn has been involved in a variety of activities including musicals; robotics club; Illinois Honors All-State Choir; student council; scholastic bowl; fall play; tennis; cross country; track and wrestling. He also is an Eagle Scout.

"I'm just humbled to have been accepted. In the back of my mind, I've always thought I wouldn't be good enough, and that I wouldn't get in," he said. "Fortunately for me, I surprised myself."



Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.

(More History)