Hundreds gather for 1st Lowcountry Service Academy Day

Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hundreds from around the nation and close to home gathered at Patriot’s Point on Saturday for an event solely focused on serving students across the Lowcountry.

Lowcountry Service Academy Day was held by the congressional and senate offices of Representative Nancy Mace, Representative Jim Clyburn, Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Tim Scott.

Mace was originally listed as a speaker and main host for the event, but she did not attend.

The first-of-its-kind event hosted at the USS Yorktown provided support, networking and resource opportunities to nearby families and students.

Families and students from different parts of the Lowcountry were given a chance to speak to office representatives about nominations, a requirement for admission at some of the academies.

The event started with a presentation from each of the academies, a brief lunch and networking session and a demonstration from members of the Coast Guard.

“The tables were right next to each other, and candidates could go from one table to another,” U.S. Naval Academy student Emily Juncker said. “Asking questions about how to get a nomination and what they could look forward to.”

Event organizers said the overall goal was to bring the resources from far away to a place closer to home.

Members of the academy traveled from parts of South Carolina, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Connecticut for a chance to speak with potential students.

“I didn’t have an opportunity like this when I was applying,” Juncker said. “It just seems so awesome seeing the Merchant Marine Academy, the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Westpoint, all together.”

Students said they took full advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the different branches.

“It’s been great, really informational. Getting a feel from academies, what they want students to feel in their future,” Wando High School Student Eva said.

They said it made them feel more confident in their decision-making and solidified their interest in joining.

“I’ve always wanted to serve and lead at the highest level I can. I figured they would be the best way to bring out the best I can be,” Phillip Simmons High School student Ian said.

This event was the first of its kind for the Lowcountry and representatives called it a success.

They hope it is an event they can do every year on behalf of the students.

“Don’t struggle alone,” Mangels said. “It’s a long process and we don’t expect you to know everything. We give you the information, do your research and reach out. We’re happy to answer questions, it’s our job. We love talking to kids who are fired up about service academies and want to learn more. We want to make sure it’s the best fit for you as well.”