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Marching toward a new challenge: Two Roncalli seniors appointed to selective military academies

Marching toward a new challenge: Two Roncalli seniors appointed to selective military academies

From left, Matthew Croddy and Ryan Henry are honored to be accepted into selective military academies. (Submitted photo)

By Jessica Todd

Two Roncalli seniors recently received acceptance into military academies.

Matthew Croddy will attend the Naval Academy in Maryland, which has an 8.3 percent acceptance rate. Ryan Henry is heading to West Point in New York, which has an acceptance rate of 12 percent.

The seniors both had to be nominated to attend their future academies. Croddy was nominated by the United States Senator Mike Braun, and Henry received his nomination from United States senator Todd Young.

A new journey for Croddy

If asked a few years ago, Croddy would have said he planned to go to a college such as Wabash or the University of Indianapolis. It was two years ago when his focus shifted to the Naval Academy.

“I wanted to do something different from the average college experience. A friend of mine was attending the academy, and I went to visit her my sophomore year. I loved the atmosphere and the professors I had the chance to meet,” Croddy explained. “Visiting the campus sparked my interestmore than ever before. If I went to a normal college, I would have participated in ROTC, so the Naval Academy is the perfect fit for me.”

Many of Croddy’s family members have served in the military, so he had an understanding of the application process when he began sending in information near the end of 2020.

“I sent in my main application around August of 2020 and my nomination in October of that year. It was a bit of a rolling thing; as I finished documents, I sent them in,” he said.

The Roncalli senior found out he was appointed in January 2021.

“I was scrolling through my phone when I saw that my status had been updated. I was actually sitting in my seventh-period class and just happened to check,” Croddy explained. “I was speechless when I saw that I had been accepted. It felt so good, and it was such a big relief to know that I had an official plan. It had been a few months since I sent everything in, so I was on edge.”

Croddy’s parents have been fully supportive of his decision. When they found out he had been accepted, they told everyone they possibly could.

“I think they were more excited than I was,” said Croddy as he chuckled. “They have been by my side the entire time.

He explained that his goals for the future are to serve his country in any way he can.

“Ideally, I would like to become a nuclear engineer for a ship,” Croddy said. “If that does not work out, I hope to be able to serve my country however I can. That is my number one goal here.”

Croddy leaves for the Naval Academy on June 29.

A new addition to Henry’s family history

With a history of military background, Ryan Henry knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of those before him.

“Although a lot of my family members have a military background, none of them have been to an academy before,” explained Henry. “I am excited to create my own path while still sticking to family roots.”

Henry has never been interested in a typical college campus. He wants to go to school to improve himself mentally and physically. His original plans were to major in something involving math, such as chemical engineering or applied statistics. He made the decision just over a year ago to apply to West Point.

“I really want to challenge myself to do something different and find my way in a new atmosphere. I do not want to go to college to party like some other kids,” said Henry. “I had to start my application process and get everything quickly since I made my decision on such short notice.”

When Henry found out he had been accepted to West Point in February of this year, he says it was relieving, and his family showered him in support.

“I think my acceptance to West Point is my greatest accomplishment thus far,” Henry said. “I have so much thanks to giving to my parents for being supportive and proud of me. They have always pushed me to be the best that I can be and have challenged me to overcome any obstacles that come my way. It was a happy moment.”

As far as his time at the academy goes, Henry wants to be involved in extracurriculars while challenging himself mentally and physically.

“I anticipate that this will be the hardest thing I have ever done,” he said.” I am excited about the challenge. I hope to make good friends and play football when I get to the academy. I also cannot wait to graduate and serve my country for five-plus years.”

Henry leaves for West Point between June 26-28.

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