SKY HIGH: Christ the King senior off to Air Force Academy

“Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win.”

This is the motto cadets at the United States Air Force Academy live by, and come July Queens resident Yaira Diaz will be among those living these tenets.

Diaz, a senior at Christ the King, will begin her four week boot camp prior to classes at the academy on July 13.

A late Christmas present, Diaz opened the acceptance letter on December 26, saying she “blanked out for a minute.”

“I read the letter a couple of times just to make sure,” Diaz remembered.

Diaz, who just turned 18 and was born in the Dominican Republic, first had thoughts about entering the services when she began high school. When she began looking at colleges and found she could apply to the service academies she was thrilled. She came to like the Air Force Academy the best and on her October visit there she described it as “a whole ‘nother world.”

At first, though, her mother, Gayda, was not thrilled with her only child entering the services. Diaz’s mother began to talk to people who had served and did research and came around to the idea.

When the acceptance letter arrived, Diaz said her proud mother and father, Joseph Saroli, were screaming with joy.

The Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, but Diaz isn’t worried about the distance from home.

Calling Colorado Springs “a beautiful place,” Diaz said the atmosphere, the fact that she will be one of many cadets going through the same thing and being involved in a sport – volleyball – will help her adjust to her new locale.

Also, constant communication and her family’s visit in September for the ceremony honoring the cadets’ completion of boot camp will stave off any homesickness.

A volleyball player at Christ the King, where she will graduate in June as the first graduate to go onto the Air Force Academy, Diaz will also suit up for the Falcons.

Diaz, who has an interest in becoming a pilot, intends on majoring in social sciences with a plan to one day enter medical school.

But before that comes four weeks of boot camp and 5 a.m. wake up calls. A time when many other college-aged teenagers are just turning in, Diaz and the other cadets are starting their day. These disciplines that turn many teenagers away are exactly what Diaz is looking forward to, saying she is even excited about wearing her uniform of fatigues around campus.

She’s not worried about the hard work that comes with the academy because of her experience coming to America not knowing English. She had to work extra hard just to catch up to her classmates.

“Every time I try to do something, I try my best,” said Diaz.

“Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win,” it’s a motto Diaz said she has been living and is certainly ready for.


More from Around New York