Bianca Franz won’t have to blow out any candles this year to get her birthday wish.
On June 25, her 19th birthday, the 2011 Greenbrier High School graduate will leave her Evans home for Colorado Springs, Colo. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun recently appointed her to the Air Force Academy.
“It’s kind of a birthday gift on its own to finally accomplish my dream,” Franz said.
Since she was a senior in high school, Franz said, she aspired to follow in her brother’s footsteps and be a cadet at the academy. Franz’s brother, Damian Franz, graduated in May 2011 and is training to be a pilot at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas.
While visiting her brother at the academy, Franz was able to attend classes with him and experience the daily lifestyle of an Air Force cadet, she said.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Franz, who hopes to become either a pilot or military intelligence officer. “Not too many teenagers my age want to be thrown into a military environment with such strict boundaries, but I knew that’s where I wanted to be and where I had to be.”
Franz comes from a long line of military service members. Her father, Lt. Col. Pete Franz, retired in May from the U.S. Army, and her mother, Victoria Franz, served for five years in the Air Force. Both of her grandfathers and other extended family members also have fought for their country.
“She’s the first female in the family that is going straight to the academy and serving, so it is somewhat special,” her father said.
After graduating from high school last year, Franz attended a semester at Northwestern Preparatory School in California. The school helps students to become stronger candidates for service academies.
She returned home and attended Augusta State University in 2012. Franz said she learned about her appointment during finals week.
The academy accepted fewer students this year because of military cuts by the federal government.
“I know that they had cuts this year, so being given one of those appointments, I’m just honored and so blessed,” she said.
Dead-set on joining the Air Force, Franz had turned down an offer in 2011 to play soccer at the Coast Guard Academy. She played varsity soccer for four years at Greenbrier.
Her perseverance and hard work are now starting to pay off, her father said.
“The fact that she didn’t let go of her dreams and she continued to work hard, I thought was pretty impressive,” he said.