Geneseo to Annapolis: Karl Flynn named National Merit Scholarship finalist

Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2014, 10:53 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
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 Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.

(More History)