Keeping up a military tradition

first_imgHACIENDA HEIGHTS – Samantha Gonzales has to go out and buy a new toothbrush for college. That’s it. That’s all the 18-year-old from Hacienda Heights is allowed to bring to her new college, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., when she leaves in June. The Wilson High School graduate will join more than 1,000 other candidates – plebes, as they’re called – who will begin their naval careers in one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. The Navy wants a well-rounded individual with good character,” said Samanta, who was a student athlete at Wilson, as well as president of the school’s Key Club. Brother Nicholas said he was surprised when his little sister expressed an interest in a military academy. “I told her to attend one of the academy’s summer seminars, and I was surprised by how much she enjoyed the experience,” the Navy cadet said. “I really liked it,” said Samantha. “Once we went on a 5-mile run, and the company has to stay together so they put the slowest runners in front. My company put all the girls up front because they didn’t think we could keep up. But I’m a good runner, so I set a pace that surprised them.” Samantha said she wants to major in chemistry and would like to go on to become a surgeon some day. Candidates to the academy have to be nominated a member of Congress. Samantha was nominated by Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk. “The bottom line is that we’re proud of our kids,” Henry Gonzales said. “They’re serving their country and getting a first-rate education.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 28011 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It’s one of the 10 hardest schools to get into,” boasted her father, Henry Gonzales, a regional vice president for First Mortgage Corp. Why shouldn’t he brag? Samantha is his second child to be accepted into the hallowed military academy. His son, Nicholas, 20, is now finishing up his sophomore year in Annapolis. Now, his younger daughter is donning the naval uniform. “We’re not allowed to take any civilian clothes. We have to wear uniforms the entire first year,” she said. The elder Gonzales noted that upwards of 50,000 students try out for one of just 1,200 academy openings every year. In addition to great grades, the academy judges applicants on community service work and athletic participation. last_img read more