Salute, graduates: 4 Perry High students earn military academy appointments - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Salute, graduates: 4 Perry High students earn military academy appointments

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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:59 am | Updated: 11:22 pm, Sun Aug 4, 2013.

The Class of 2013 at Perry High School boasts an impressive list of accomplishments.

But one stands out — and it’s got red, white and blue all over it.

Four seniors will head to U.S. military academies this summer with plans to be part of the colleges’ Class of 2017: two to the U.S. Military Academy and two to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Thousands of students apply each year to the military academies. West Point’s Class of 2013 — which enrolled with 1,299 students — came from an original application pool of more than 11,000.

Military academy enrollment requires high grades, strong leadership, a physical and an appointment by a U.S. Senator or Congressman.

So most high schools boast when one student gains admission.

Perry, located in Gilbert but part of the Chandler Unified School District, can sing about the four 18 year olds about to leave for the prestigious schools.

Daniel Serrano Jr. and Nicholas Brickous will depart next month to West Point outside of New York City for basic training. Madeline Gloss and Anthony Esparza will leave about the same time for training in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A few of the students knew for years they would be applying to the academies.

“Dad went there so since I was little we’ve always gone to football games,” said Gloss. “So I’ve grown up around it.”

Serrano, the son of Perry principal Dan Serrano, said he learned about the opportunity from his football coach during freshman year.

“Pretty much all my family have done something in public service,” Serrano said. “So I want to do something to serve my country.”

Brickous learned about West Point from a previous Perry High School graduate now attending the school.

“He mentioned it was a great opportunity. It sounded like something I wanted to do. I followed in his footsteps,” he said.

Esparza was the first of the four to complete the application “huge” process.

“I’ve always thought about being in the military,” he said.

Each sought an academy appointment for different reasons, from the academic rigor of the school to the honor of the achievement to the guaranteed employment opportunities upon graduation.

“You’re selected to serve everyone in your nation. When you go to other countries, you represent everyone,” Serrano said.

“I promised my mom would never pay for college. And almost all my family has served in the Armed Forces,” Brickous said.

The four students held leadership roles at Perry and played sports. Esparza was on the soccer team. Serrano and Brickous played football. Gloss played softball and volleyball. All of their grade point averages are 4.0 or higher.

But as “plebes” or freshmen at the academies, they start all over.

Brickous said his former Perry classmate, now West Point student, told him, “It’s going to be tough. You just have to work through meal to meal.”

But before they get there, they will put on caps and gowns and join more than 2,000 Chandler district graduates from Perry, Basha, Hamilton and Chandler high schools Wednesday at their various graduations. Gilbert, Mesa, Higley and Tempe high schools held graduation ceremonies last week.

To learn more about the top graduates at these schools, check out

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