Sierra Lutheran grad will be first to attend military academy

Hunter Rowlatt, who graduated from Sierra Lutheran High School on May 27, will be the first in the private school’s history to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Hunter Rowlatt, who graduated from Sierra Lutheran High School on May 27, will be the first in the private school’s history to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

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Reality might not sink for Sierra Lutheran High School graduate Hunter Rowlatt that he attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. until he arrives next month.

“I don’t know if it’s completely hit me yet,” he said. “But I’m enjoying it. I’m reporting June 29, and I’m trying to make the most of it, and I’ll say my goodbyes at the school.”

Rowlatt, who served as this year’s student body president, a discipleship student leader and a multisport athlete, is among Sierra Lutheran’s 30% of the school’s graduates heading to college out of state. However, he will be the first Sierra Lutheran High School graduate to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, a competitive process that required an application and several congressional nominations.

Rowlatt began the process early in his high school career, beginning his research on all five military branches.

“There are a lot of different steps you have to balance, and I didn’t care what branch I got into,” he said. “I just wanted to fly airplanes, so I applied to all five academies.”

He was accepted into the Merchant Marine and Naval academies and waitlisted at Coast Guard. He also met with representatives to secure nominations from Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., to get nominations to all the academies and had performed mock interviews to prepare for his meetings with them.

“The panels would always ask, ‘Do you have questions for us?’ and I would ask, ‘What was your favorite part about going to the academy?’” Rowlatt said. “They would always answer, ‘The camaraderie and friendship that you never lose.’ ”

He said he looked forward to gaining the same from his military experience.

One of the challenges, however, in seeking to stand out as a candidate in the process was overcoming any medical disqualifications that could keep him from selection. Rowlatt as a child had asthma, and he said anyone seeking admission into the service academies could quickly be dismissed for health reasons.

“It’s another opportunity to how much you’re willing to fight for it,” he said. “I had to go to lot of doctor visits and fight and send in lot of protests to keep my name in the running. I didn’t have a backup plan, I wish I could I say I did because I was going to go try to be a commercial pilot if I didn’t work out but it was going to have to be all in.”

He said his parents encouraged him, making sure he was thinking ahead if his original plans didn’t work out as he hoped.

Ultimately, Rowlatt said attending a small, private school like Sierra Lutheran inspired his self-confidence to pursue his ambition for a military career.

“I don’t know I would have done at a bigger school,” Rowlatt said. “I’m glad for my time at Sierra Lutheran. It’s all paid off at the end.”

Sierra Lutheran, which celebrated its class of 31 graduates on Saturday, has seen a 6% acceptance rate into the academy, Patrick Maynard, head of the school, said.

“Hunter is the best example of a great young man,” Maynard said of Rowlatt. “He is driven by the purest of intentions and works beyond what is expected in hopes of achieving greatness. Hunter is a blessing to this community and he will shine as a Christian leader in our military. I am just so proud of him.”


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