Justin Boquist is so determined to go to the United States Air Force Academy that he has petitioned two state senators and even more representatives to help him get in.
"I really like the standards of the Air Force," said Justin, a 17-year-old senior at Evans High School, whose brother and uncle are in the Air Force. "I like the curriculum, honor code and being with other people who want to succeed like I do."
Though Justin might be a little closer to enrolling at the Colorado Springs military university, he will have a few more weeks to wait to see whether U.S. Rep. Paul Broun's nomination gets him accepted.
Justin has jumped through more hoops than most young men his age, all in hopes of getting that letter stating he will become one of the newest members of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
"It's heart beating, heart racing," said Justin of the formal interview process to which he was subjected before his nomination.
With military majors and politicians asking him all kinds of questions, the son of Penny and James Boquist, of Martinez, said he was on pins and needles.
"I figured the more interviews I could get in, the more confident I'd feel about myself, so it wasn't all bad," he said.
Retired Lt. Col. Patrick Rivette, Justin's JROTC instructor at Evans High, said his student is a "highly motivated, goal-oriented young man who always puts 100 percent into every activity that he is involved in.
"He has been an outstanding student academically, has been an excellent leader in the JROTC, where he currently serves as a battalion public affairs officer with the rank of cadet major, and athletically has been one of the most outstanding members of our Raider Team, consistently scoring 300 or higher on the Army Physical Fitness Test."
Justin said that when he learned Broun had nominated him for an appointment to the Air Force Academy, he was elated.
"My mom called me up and said I had gotten the nomination," he said of the day his mother sent him a text message on his cell phone. "I really just wanted to leave school because I was so excited."
Justin is aware that a nomination doesn't secure him an appointment, but he knows he has already achieved success in getting Broun's vote of confidence.
"To be honest, I know getting a nomination is difficult," he said. "And although a nomination doesn't guarantee an appointment, it raises my hope that I will receive an appointment."
In addition to his JROTC involvement at Evans High, Justin is also on the school's cross country and track teams, and the JROTC Raider Team. Justin has volunteered extensively in the community and is a member of the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross' youth board, having logged more than 1,000 hours at Doctors Hospital during the past few summers.
"I really enjoyed every minute of it," he said of his volunteer work.
Rivette said he is confident that Justin will fare well with his appointment.
"Evans High School has sent six students to USAFA in the past 11 years, of which two have graduated and four are still cadets in good standing," he said. "I am confident that he will do well at the U.S. Air Force Academy and will be an exemplary U.S. Air Force officer."
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