After meeting a rigorous set of requirements and being nominated by a Congressional delegation member, 2016 Wilton High School graduate Haley Howard accepted an offer of appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). \u201cThere are so many reasons I chose to attend the USCGA,\u201d said Haley. \u201cI love the mission of the academy and really want to be able to serve our country, while being able to learn everyday, getting an unparalleled education.\u201d The USCGA is a 140-year-old military academy in New London that provides education to future Coast Guard officers. It is one of the smallest of the United States\u2019 five federal service academies. Haley said she knew the Coast Guard academy was the right choice for her when she was able to be a \u201ccadet for a day\u201d and talk to cadets. \u201cI noticed that everyone had a sense of purpose and was working towards the goal of becoming an officer in the Coast Guard,\u201d she said. \u201cIt would be amazing to someday be the officer on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.\u201d Haley said she has always loved science, research and discovery, and plans to study marine and environmental sciences at the academy. \u201cIn particular,\u201d she said, \u201cI am very interested in climate change, a big focus of the Coast Guard.\u201d At Wilton High School, Haley was a member of the varsity girls lacrosse team, girls ski team and cross-country team. She also played clarinet and bass clarinet in the school band, was a three-year member of Amnesty International, and president of Soles for Souls. Outside of school, Haley works as a ski patroller at Windham Mountain in Windham, N.Y., and a volunteer for Leaps of Faith Adaptive Waterskiers. \u201cAssisting the participants to waterski is an amazing and rewarding opportunity that allows me to help people, while being able to do something I love,\u201d she said. \u201cMy volunteer work is partially what inspired me to choose the USCGA.\u201d Although she is \u201cdefinitely nervous\u201d about going to the academy, because the military aspect will be unlike anything she\u2019s ever experienced at Wilton High School, Haley said, that change is also something she is excited about. Haley, who leaves for the academy on July 18, said she is \u201creally excited to meet new people and work as a team to get through the tough first weeks at the academy,\u201d where she also looks forward to playing lacrosse. Appointed to the academy\u2019s five-year Scholars Program, Haley is expected to graduate in 2021, at which point she will become an officer on a cutter. \u201cThere are so many amazing opportunities upon graduating the academy,\u201d said Haley. \u201cThere is even a Coast Guard flight school that a small percentage of graduates attend.\u201d Haley said she would eventually like to continue her studies and go into a health-related field in the military. \u201cI really hope that more students from Wilton High School look into the USCGA,\u201d she said. \u201cIt is an amazing opportunity for anyone with leadership experience, interested in science-based academics, athletics and military training.\u201d Click here\u00a0to learn more about the USCGA.