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).

“There are so many reasons I chose to attend the USCGA,” said Haley. “I 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.”

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’ 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 “cadet for a day” and talk to cadets.

“I noticed that everyone had a sense of purpose and was working towards the goal of becoming an officer in the Coast Guard,” she said. “It would be amazing to someday be the officer on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.”

Haley said she has always loved science, research and discovery, and plans to study marine and environmental sciences at the academy.

“In particular,” she said, “I am very interested in climate change, a big focus of the Coast Guard.”

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.

“Assisting the participants to waterski is an amazing and rewarding opportunity that allows me to help people, while being able to do something I love,” she said. “My volunteer work is partially what inspired me to choose the USCGA.”

Although she is “definitely nervous” about going to the academy, because the military aspect will be unlike anything she’s 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 “really excited to meet new people and work as a team to get through the tough first weeks at the academy,” where she also looks forward to playing lacrosse.

Appointed to the academy’s five-year Scholars Program, Haley is expected to graduate in 2021, at which point she will become an officer on a cutter.

“There are so many amazing opportunities upon graduating the academy,” said Haley. “There is even a Coast Guard flight school that a small percentage of graduates attend.”

Haley said she would eventually like to continue her studies and go into a health-related field in the military.

“I really hope that more students from Wilton High School look into the USCGA,” she said. “It is an amazing opportunity for anyone with leadership experience, interested in science-based academics, athletics and military training.”

Click here to learn more about the USCGA.