by marlys good
For the majority of GHS students, Oct. 21 was just an ordinary day. But for McKenna Powers the “ordinary” day turned into something very special.
“I was in the girls bathroom when I got a text from my mom saying I had received my official appointment to the Naval Academy. I was floating on air the whole day,” Powers said with a wide smile.
“I walked out and Mr. Flock and Mr. Menke were in the hall talking. They just saw my big smile. I told them my mom had just texted me and I got accepted into the Naval Academy. They both gave me a big hug.”
Powers said, “I think most of the teachers just knew. A lot of them had helped me with my application, letters of recommendation, things like that.”
Powers will be inducted into the Academy in Annapolis on July 1,2014. She is no stranger to Annapolis; she has visited there four times, “But I always get the same feeling. It’s amazing; the architecture is beautiful. It’s just so, I don’t know the word, just awesome.”
For Powers, the official notification was the culmination of a dream she has had, a goal she set, when she was 14 years old; a goal partially inspired by her father, Duane, who spent 20 years as a Navy pilot. “He flew P3s. He’s in Afghanistan right now – he is contracted over there,” she shared
“I’ve always wanted to serve in the military. My dad had visited the Academy and wanted me to look at it online. I thought it sounded like a great school, so many opportunities. It was exactly what I wanted to do. Education is very important to me and it is one of the best educations you can get in this country. The people there, you know, all of them have the same ideals. They are good people; that’s one thing that attracted me to it. All the kids have high goals. You know you can trust them. They have your back. I have a lot in common with them.
“I could go on forever on why I want to go there,” she said with a laugh.
Powers knew she was eligible for a Presidential nomination to the academy because of her dad’s 20-year stint in the armed forces. “So, I’ve actually been pretty positive about it, but I was also a little bit nervous because I knew I needed a medical waiver because of my back injury when I was 14 years old. I e-mailed the counselor and she told me my waiver was granted on Oct. 19.”
Powers has been in and around airplanes since she was a little girl. “My grandpa had the airport in town so I was in the hangars, watching the guys working on the planes. It got in my blood. I always liked helping; I like knowing how things work. My dad always explained everything to me. He would say, ‘Now you know why that is like that. He knows everything.”
An e-mail from her dad said simply: “My dear young daughter, I am most proud of your direction, dedication and abilities. You have accomplished no small feat, an accumulation of many difficult challenges and attention to detail. Stay true to your goals, be healthy and do good things. Love, Dad.”
Powers gives credit to her success to her parents, whom, she says, “always make sure I’m trying my best and are very encouraging.”
Powers had always been a proponent of the “natural look,” although she admits she sometimes will pick up a “Seventeen,” to get “ideas for the couple of times a year I wear makeup. I always start like that at the first of the school year, then think it’s easier to go natural. That’s good because that is what I’ll be doing at the Naval Academy. I won’t be fixing my hair. They’ll be cutting it all off anyway,” she laughed.
Powers is the daughter of Duane and Cindy Powers and the granddaughter of Gene and Louise Powers of Greybull.