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 Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.

(More History)