On Monday evening, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, hosted a virtual video call with the students from the 14th Congressional District who were appointed to attend a U.S. military academy, including U.S. Naval Academy appointees Chaisen Buckner of Murray County, who attended North Murray High School, and Tyler Hunt of Gordon County, who attended Dalton High School.
Each year, Graves hosts the academy appointees and their families for a send-off dinner, with members of the appointment board and local academy student alumni. This year due to the ongoing health crisis, Graves hosted a video call instead, and had the chance to talk with each student before they begin their training.
"This year is pretty unique, not only are we doing virtually, but this is the largest class we have sent from our congressional district ... we couldn't be more proud of each and every one of you," said Graves.
Catherine Farist, nominated by Graves to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2018 and a member of the Class of 2022, joined the video call to share words of encouragement with the students.
As a member of Congress, Graves is responsible for nominating students to the military academies. The congressman uses an independent board of military advisers to review applications from 14th District students and determine who receives a nomination. Each military academy then chooses which students to appoint out of all the nominations received from across the country. The academies provide a top notch four-year college education in addition to military officer training. The students do not pay for tuition, housing, food, books and other college costs. The students instead commit to active duty military service as an officer for five years following graduation.