All Saints senior accepted into Air Force Academy - FOX34 Lubbock

All Saints senior accepted into Air Force Academy

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

From All Saints Episcopal School:

All Saints Episcopal School is proud to announce that a member of its 18-member Class of 2020 and All Saints fifth graduating class has received a congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs. This is the school’s second military academy appointment this spring.

Senior Anthony Paone received a pleasant surprise during the school’s High School Chapel on March 9 when a video sent by Congressman Jodey Arrington was played to the entire high school student body saying, “It was his privilege and honor to nominate outstanding young men and young women for the United States Military Academies.” Paone was seated next to fellow senior and recent West Point appointee, Sam Aycock, during the video.

As Congressman Arrington explained how proud he is to nominate outstanding students from West Texas into military academies, Paone kept smiling and congratulating Aycock.  He was truly unaware that Arrington was about to make an announcement that would change his life.

Surprised realization sunk in as Arrington further said, “I received word recently that a student from All Saints has been accepted into the Air Force Academy and that student is Anthony Paone!”

All Saints videoed Paone’s reaction as he realized the announcement was to honor him. Congressman Arrington’s office merged the video of Arrington’s announcement with the school’s video. The video has been aired on social media and the link is posted here also

“Anthony is a young man of character who values his moral compass, and he doesn’t lower his standards to accommodate others.  He possesses an inspiring work ethic and a unique ability to thrive outside of his comfort zone,” All Saints Athletic Director Robert Brashear said. “The United States Air Force Academy, the United States Air Force and the United States of America will benefit from Anthony's efforts and leadership.  We are all so proud of Anthony, and we look forward to watching and supporting his journey.”

Another symbolic moment of the video is Robert Brashear’s draping of the Military Honor Cords on Paone’s shoulders. Brashear played collegiate basketball at the Air Force Academy and has mentored Paone as he completed the application requirements. The Honor Cords almost symbolize the passing of the torch from one Air Force Cadet to another Air Force Cadet.

“I have wanted to attend a military academy since I started high school,” Paone said. “I chose to apply to the USAFA because I can serve and protect my country as an Astronautical Engineer.  My career goals are to work as an engineer in the Air Force developing new technologies and working with a company specializing in asteroid mining or any other space-related economic venture.”

Paone is the first All Saints graduate to have received an appointment into the Air Force Academy.
  He is joined with Aycock (West Point) as the first All Saints graduates to have received military appointments, which is significant since their graduating class contains only 18 students.  They will be the first All Saints seniors to graduate wearing the Military Honor Cords.

“Anthony has accomplished a great deal at All Saints, and I think we’re just scratching the surface of what is to come,” All Saints Headmaster Bruce Latta said. “He has much to offer, and given the training he will receive at the United States Air Force Academy, I think we are seeing the beginning of what will be an impressive career of leadership and service."

Paone enrolled in All Saints as a five-year old in Kindergarten. He is the son of Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Deana Paone.  He has two younger brothers, Joseph and Vincent who also attend All Saints. Anthony’s twin brother, Dominic, also attended All Saints and is a senior at Lubbock High.

“Anthony is a stellar reflection of integrity, loyalty to country and willingness to serve others.  His strong moral character and ethics are integral parts of his nomination to the United States Air Force Academy,” All Saints Episcopal School Division Head Tammy Edmonson said.  “Being a well-rounded and self-disciplined academic student at All Saints, along with involvement in extracurricular activities such as robotics, debate, cross country, swimming and track has allowed Anthony to stand out among others as he pursued his passions.”

Paone has received the high school’s highest award, the Proven Patriot Award, each year. He competes on the school’s Cross Country, Track, and Swim teams on the state level and even won the 2019 TAPPS 2A State Championship in the 500 Freestyle swim contests.  Paone also competes in numerous academic events at the TAPPS State Academic Competitions including Band, Debate and Robotics. In addition, he competes with the Robo Raiders, a local robotics team.  The Robo Raiders advanced to the Robotic World Championships last year.  Paone also enjoys competing in bowling and weight-training.  As a blacksmith, he enjoys creating knives, axes, and pens.

“Anthony is an extraordinary young man. Talented, skilled, intelligent. Anthony leads in a quiet, unassuming manner,” All Saints Counselor Gwen Belk said. “He reminds me of the quote – ‘Still water runs deep.’  He is a thinker and a doer and an inventor. He truly embodies the motto of the United States Air Force – Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do.”

Paone also applied to Texas A&M University and School of Engineering, Oklahoma State University and School of Engineering, and the U.S. Naval Academy. The Air Force Academy was always his first choice.

“My interest in the military piqued my freshman year,” Paone said. “As a soldier, I hope to develop new forms of aircraft and vehicles for combat use.”  He plans to major in Astronautical Engineering or any other field that relates to aerospace.

His interest in aviation and aerospace will serve him very well since a very large part of the Air Force Academy experience involves flying, unmanned aerial systems, and space courses.

I want to design and manufacture aircraft for the Air Force or work in space in satellite operations,” Paone said. “I do want to work for the Space Force during my time in the Air Force and possibly NASA after my time in the Air Force. I am not required to fly, but I plan to fly gliders while I am at the Air Force Academy.”

Paone began the application process in September that the Air Force Academy required for a congressional nomination into a military academy. Each congressman may nominate up to ten individuals for each vacant academy slot allotted to his or her district for admission into four of the five military academies: the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, New York. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), New London, Connecticut does not require a congressional nomination for appointment

“Applying for the military academy was relatively easy. The process / paperwork for my nomination was the most difficult part,” Paone said. “With Mrs. Belk’s guidance, I was able to complete the paperwork that was needed and obtained my letters of recommendation.  I hand-delivered documents to Congressman Arrington’s office and mailed the same documents to the offices of Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn. Waiting for the nomination was the hardest part.”

He encourages other applicants to begin the application process sooner because a lot is required to complete the applications.  “Start your application when it opens and do not procrastinate,” Paone said. “The main difference in applying to a military academy and other colleges is that you have to fill out additional applications for the congressional nomination and need to take a physical and medical tests.”

Paone said he is especially grateful to his high school counselor for her guidance and encouragement during the application process. “Mrs. Belk made the process manageable,” he said.

I have no doubt that Anthony will be supremely successful at the United States Air Force Academy and in his career that will follow,” Mrs. Belk said. “It has been a great pleasure to have Anthony at All Saints Episcopal School and an even greater pleasure to know that I was able to serve him as his counselor.”

The United States Air Force Academy is one of the most competitive schools in the nation. Applicants must meet high academic, physical, character and medical standards to be eligible for an appointment. Air Force Academy cadetship includes a fully-funded four-year college education. The U.S. Air Force provides tuition, room, board, medical, and dental care. By law, graduates of the Air Force Academy are appointed on active duty as commissioned officers and serve in the U.S. Air Force for a minimum of five years.  Candidates for the Air Force Academy are evaluated on academic performance, demonstrated leadership potential, and physical fitness. All are required to be U.S. citizens and between 17 and 23 years old. Cadets must be unmarried, not pregnant, and not under obligation to support any children.

According to the United States Air Force Academy’s application website, the acceptance ratio for the Air Force Academy is approximately 11 percent of the number of students applying, which means for every 100 students applying only 11 students are accepted.

This major achievement for Anthony is also a direct reflection of the many of years of support from his family, teachers and mentors,” Edmonson said. “It’s exciting to see the path that Anthony will pursue after graduation and in the years to come.  All Saints is honored to have had the privilege to have Anthony as a student and know that he exemplifies the values of this institution.  We congratulate him on this significant accomplishment!”

Approximately 1,100 cadets will enter the Air Force Academy with Paone in June to begin their academy experience.
“I report June 25th for Basic Cadet Training (BCT),” Paone said. BCT is the beginning of an intense six-week training program to transition new cadets from civilian life to military life.

His high school division head believes Paone will not have trouble transitioning to the rigors of the Air Force Academy.

“Through Anthony’s determination and constant pursuit of excellence, I know he will continue this expectation for himself and serve his country well,” Edmonson said.

The Air Force Academy requires not only outstanding academic achievements and leadership qualities, but applicants must complete rigorous physical tests which are videotaped and submitted to the Academy for evaluation. Many of his high school teachers worked with Paone to ensure he completed the application requirements to the best of his abilities. He credits the All Saints faculty for his success.

“Chemistry Teacher Matt Ryan, AP Seminar Teacher Pam Ryan, English Teacher Sharon Kingston, Headmaster Bruce Latta, Counselor Gwen Belk, Division Head Tammy Edmonson, and Coach Robert Brashear assisted me with my applications and my letters of recommendation,” Paone said. “Coach Brashear also helped me prepare for the fitness test. Mrs. Belk made sure all applications for nominations were complete, phone calls were made, documents were delivered and deadlines were met.”

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