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CPCS student receives praise from school officials for service academy nomination

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COLTON - Colton-Pierrepont senior Noah Whalen was among four students in the north country to be nominated by Rep. William Owens for admission to the nation’s four service academies, and he has been drawing praise from his peers.

Mr. Whalen was nominated by Mr. Owens for the United States Military Academy, West Point, after submitting a detailed application and meeting eligibility requirements set through statute and regulations set forth by each academy.

CPCS Principal Jim Nee was far from surprised with Mr. Whalen’s nomination. “Noah is one of those students that comes along once or twice in a teacher’s career. He is incredibly intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated. He is great with community service and is an all-around great student to have within your district,” Mr. Nee said. “In terms of a student athlete, he is extremely dedicated and a team leader. He is incredibly coachable and just is an all-around good person.

“It’s clear that he’s learned great values from his family and he has great character. He has learned a lot of important lessons through school that have served him well. ... I was not surprised that he was nominated and was pursuing this. He would be a great fit for the military academy. They would be lucky to have him.”

Mr. Nee, who has coached the nominee in soccer and lacrosse, pointed out that he is the first student from the district to be nominated for a service academy in the last 10 years. Mr. Nee noted that the school had a female student accepted into the Naval Academy in the past, and saw another student nominated for West Point before he started working at CPCS.

While Mr. Nee has seen Mr. Whalen primarily on the fields, social studies teacher Craig Bogart has developed a great deal of respect for the senior through their two years spent in the classroom together.

“Noah is an excellent student, one of my best. He is a very high level thinker. He is also very humorous and is a great debater,” Mr. Bogart said. “In terms of whether he is capable or not (for the academy,) there is no question he is capable. I have no doubt he will succeed. He is a very strong, athletic kid. The only thing that surprised me was that he was pursuing this. I didn’t know that he was looking at going into the service. When I read the article I was surprised but I was pleasantly surprised.”

Mr. Whalen said that he was not aware of his nomination until Thursday and discovered the news thanks to his uncle. “(Thursday) I found out from my uncle who saw it in the paper. He wrote on my Facebook page saying congratulations. Also, later in the day I got a letter from Mr. Owen’ giving the formal congratulations. I was ecstatic,” he said.

“I was very honored. I see this as an opportunity to not only fulfill my goals as a student, but also as a citizen of the U.S. The funny thing is that my packet was lost while going through the government shutdown. Mr. Owens’ office got in contact with me and said that even though the deadline was passed, if I got my paperwork in, I would still be considered for nomination.”

The senior gave much credit to his parents, Michael and Paulette, as well as the rest of his family for his success. Noah’s parents adopted him from Russia the day before his first birthday in 1997. Noah attended CPCS fror Pre-K through 1st grade before going to St. Mary’s School in Potsdam for two years and then returning to Colton-Pierrepont.

Students are permitted to apply for a congressional nomination to study at the United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy and the United States Military Academy.

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