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Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng's office
Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng's office
Pictured from left to right: Mother of Karim Ahmed, Justin Sells, Ted Colter, Lieutenant Ben Clay of the U.S. Navy, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Allison Lee, Jacqueline Girardin, and Sung Ho Chong.

Six students from across Queens will be attending the United States Service Academies later this month after they were selected from a group of elite college-age students from around the country.

In order for students to attend the nation’s service academies, they must first by nominated by their local member of Congress, and are required to meet the highly competitive educational, physical and extracurricular standards for the institution to which they are applying. The institutions then evaluate the nominations received from across the nation, and decide which nominees to accept.

This year, Congresswoman Grace Meng nominated a total of 23 students for the application process; in the end, six were chosen to attend academies.

  • Ted Colter, from Middle Village, was selected to attend the Naval Academy after graduating from Xavier High School;
  • Karim Ahmed, from Flushing, will attend the Air Force Academy after graduating from Air Force Academy Prep School;
  • Sung Ho Chong, of Oakland Gardens, will move on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point after graduating from Benjamin Cardozo High School;
  • Jacqueline Girardin, from Fresh Meadows, will be attending the Air Force Academy this year after graduating from Alfred University;
  • Allison Lee, of Flushing, will attend the Naval Academy after graduating from LaGuardia High School; and
  • Justin Sells, from Forest Hills, was selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point after graduating from Virginia Military Institute.

“It is an honor to have nominated these exceptional young men and women to attend our nation’s elite service academies,” Meng said. “These outstanding students are among the best and brightest in our community and I’m confident that they’ll make us proud. I congratulate each of them, and wish them the very best for success.”

The nation’s service academies work to prepare American college-age student to be officers in the U.S. uniformed services. After four years of study at the institution, graduates become commissioned as officers in the active or reserve components of the U.S. military or merchant marine for a minimum of five years.

All six students were honored at a reception at Meng’s Flushing office on Monday, June 19, where they each received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for their hard work. Lieutenant Ben Clay of the U.S. Navy was a special guest speaker at the reception.

Meng plans to sponsor another “U.S. Service Academy Information Night” later this fall for Queens students who are interested in applying to the U.S. Service Academies. The date and location for the event have not been finalized as of yet and will be announced in the coming months. Last year, Meng hosted the event in October at Forest Hills High School.

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