The presence of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun at Greenbrier High School hinted the ceremony was different than most.
Greenbrier senior Nicole Burdette accepted an appointment Friday to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The Wolfpack volleyball player, who will try to walk on at Air Force, had all the elements of a traditional signing -- friends, family, cake. Broun stood out.
"This is one of the most fun things I do," he said during the event in the school's media center.
Burdette's interest in military academies started with her aunt, who attended West Point, and continued with a friend's mother who attended the academy.
Burdette guessed Friday that she had written 10 essays to the military academies before receiving her letter of assurance from the Air Force, which meant if she earned a nomination she was in.
Burdette said she fell in love with the Air Force Academy during a visit last summer. After receiving the letter, the decision was made. She was through writing, abandoning her Naval Academy application.
"I am thrilled," Burdette said Friday after thanking Broun and others in attendance. "I was so nervous, but so excited."
Another selling point for Burdette was Air Force's aerospace engineering tract.
Burdette said she always enjoyed math and science.
After she found chemistry and physics interesting in high school, she decided to mesh everything with the aerospace program.
Her appointment means she will serve five years in the Air Force after graduation, a prospect she admitted feeling nervous about.
But she said the knowledge of guaranteed employment was a plus -- especially with the current state of the job market,.
"I know that I'm going to have a job after graduation," she said. "And that I'm going to be getting a solid pay."
Burdette said she met Air Force's volleyball coach during her visit, and said that the coach invited her to try out for the team.
Another introduction will need to be made, as Air Force now has a new coach.
"I'm hoping to walk on to the team once I get out there and maybe get some playing time if I can show them my skill," she said.
Burdette's specialty with the Wolfpack was kills. When Greenbrier needed a point, it looked to her.
Burdette led the Wolfpack with five kills per match and had 237 for the season.
"Nicole pretty much does everything," senior teammate Kailyn Blackmon said after the regular season. "She can set, she can pass, she can hit. She has one of the hardest hits I have ever seen."
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