Congressman Cole nominates three local students to attend one of America’s military academies

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 9:16 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole has announced the names of several high school students he personally nominated to attend one of America’s military academies.

Three of those nominees are from the Lawton area.

High School Seniors Matthew Aguilar, Zachary Alldredge, and Ian Leroux are all Lawton locals who have been nominated for the 2023 Military Academy.

The nomination process is highly competitive, they are evaluated by academic performance, class rank, athletics, extracurricular activities, and leadership potential.

Zachary Alldredge is a senior at Cache High School and has been nominated for U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He said he was excited about the nomination and although the process is very competitive and has numerous tasks which need to be completed to even apply, it’s worth it. Because when you are doing things you love, the process comes effortlessly.

“Everything I do in sports, school, I just love doing it. So, it’s never been a thought to me, it’s just been sort of something I do. So, you know, you are not really working if you enjoy it,” Alldredge said.

Matthew Aguilar was nominated for U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Naval Academy and Ian Leroux was nominated for U.S. Military Academy at West Point and U.S. Naval Academy.

They are both seniors at MacArthur High School and have been best friends since kindergarten.

They both said being nominated is super exciting, especially when you can share the spotlight with your best friend.

“I think it is a good opportunity for both of us because, you know, you never want like one to get and the other to have to sit and watch, or whatever. So, it was awesome that we both got in and now we have a good opportunity ahead of us,” Aguilar said.

Leroux said like most people he can sometimes procrastinate and he has been working to overcome this obstacle and is happy to see his hard work pay off.

“Just know that the future is the most important thing. You can’t constantly dwell on the present or the past, so just make sure you stay motivated and keep working through everything,” Leroux said.

Aguilar said he thinks the application process is the first step in showing who really wants to make it into an academy.

“They want you to fill out this entire board of stuff and then to see who’s still moving on, so they just want to see who’s going to set it through that. I just think my willingness to achieve greatness with all of that,” Aguilar said.

Leroux said he believes Tom Cole could see how he is someone people can count on.

“I believe that I am very reliable, and reliability is very important. And, I see myself as someone who, even when the going gets tough, to make sure the job gets done,” Leroux said.

Alldredge said this process has been long, hard and competitive but wants others to know it’s something worth applying for.

“If any military academy is something you really want to do, then you have to just throw yourself into it head first. If you don’t get accepted it’s not the end of the world, because merely applying is something that tons of people don’t even think about,” Alldredge said.

The high schoolers have cleared one hurdle, but the bigger challenge lies ahead: finishing their applications and waiting for college letters to tell them if they’ve been accepted and can start their military careers at a service academy.