Local USNA grads, scholarship recipient recognized

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD—Local students who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and the recipient of a USNA foundation scholarship, have been recognized by the Greater Southern Maryland Chapter of the USNA Alumni Association.

Among those honored during a May 6 luncheon in the station’s Officers’ Club were Midn 1/c Kristin Davidson and Midn 1/c Katherine Groenenboom, both 1999 graduates of Leonardtown High School and members of the USNA Class of 2003.

“The Naval Academy taught me that it’s not just one part of your development that’s important, but the whole person, including academics, physical conditioning and honor,” Groenenboom said. “I learned that it’s important to have a high standard of integrity, to uphold the example you expect others to follow.”

With a major in astronautical engineering, Groenenboom graduated from the Naval Academy May 23 and the following day she married one of her fellow midshipmen. She then assumes duty as a surface warfare officer aboard USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in Mayport, Fla.. Her father, John, works for the V-22 Osprey program at NAS Patuxent River and her mother, Karla, works as a financial analyst for PMA-213 at NAS Patuxent River’s Webster Field annex.

Davidson, with a major in ocean engineering, assumed duty as a surface warfare officer aboard USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) in San Diego, Calif., after she graduated from the Naval Academy. Her father, Bruce (USNA Class of 1965), is a program manager with the Air Traffic Control Systems Division at NAS Patuxent River’s Webster Field annex. Her mother, Patricia, works as a registered nurse for St. Mary’s County Public Schools.

“I’m very, very excited about graduating,” said Davidson to members of the USNA Alumni Association during the recognition luncheon. “It’s been nothing but a positive experience, and I’m so honored and very lucky to be where I am today.”

Highlighting the organizational, time-management and project-tasking skills she gained at the Naval Academy, Davidson said she is now looking forward to taking on a leadership role.

“I feel very well prepared,” she said, crediting St. Mary’s County public schools with preparing her for the Naval Academy through a wide selection of advanced placement courses, and crediting the Naval Academy with providing her with rigorous academic work, hands-on research experience and great leadership training.

Also recognized at the luncheon was Andrew “Rocky” Dobson, a senior at Great Mills High School, who received a USNA foundation scholarship to attend Northwestern Preparatory School in Crestline, Calif. Upon completion of his studies there, Dobson will enter the USNA as a member of the class of 2008.

“I’ve always wanted to go into the military and have always thought the U.S. Naval Academy was such an awesome school,” said Dobson, who attended a week-long seminar at the USNA last summer.

Dobson said he hopes to fly F/A-18s in the Marines one day. His father, Mark, is a retired Marine gunnery sergeant who now works as a logistics manager for PMA-209. His mother, Kelly, also served as a Marine and now works as an instructional resource teacher at Lexington Park Elementary School.

Among those taking part in the recognition ceremony were Capt. Scott Sanders of the U.S. Naval Reserves. As the St. Mary’s County Blue and Gold Officer, Sanders provides assistance to local students seeking admission to the Naval Academy. Also speaking at the event was State Delegate John L. Bohanan, Jr. (D-District 29B), who congratulated the students.

“Our nation has paid a lot of tax dollars to support you and has identified you as future leaders of our country,” Bohanan said. “That’s somewhat of a burden for you to carry, but as Naval Academy graduates, you carry that burden very honorably.”

Presenting plaques to the graduating midshipmen was retired Navy Capt. Mike Cosgrove, president of the local USNA alumni association.

For more information on the U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.usna.edu or to contact the Greater Southern Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association at www.navyalumni.org.

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