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Four students nominated to military academies

February 23, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Four La Cañada Flintridge students are among the nominees to the United States Air Force, Military, Naval and Merchant Marine Academies announced Feb. 2 by Congressman David Dreier.

Nicklaus Koeppen, Alexandra Preiss, Matthew Faber and Stephen Oh — all local residents — received nominations.

“I am pleased to nominate these young people for admittance to our nation’s service academies,” Dreier said in a press release. “They are an incredibly talented and dedicated group. Each would give outstanding service to our nation as a military officer.”

Faber, a 17-year old La Cañada High senior, was nominated to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. He found out he’d been accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy, his first choice, on Feb. 10.

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“That’s what I wanted to do since I was like 6,” he said. “It’s a big moment right now.”

Faber comes from a military family. His father and grandfather both served in the Navy.

“I’ve always wanted to fly planes, and since my dad was in the Navy, I was kind of drawn to it as an option to do that,” said Faber, adding that his dream has slowly been unfolding since he began seriously pursuing it at age 14 or 15. “It’s been a long road.”

Koeppen, a freshman at University of Colorado, Boulder, and Preiss, a senior at Flintridge Prep, received recommendations from Dreier for the U.S. Air Force Academy. Oh was nominated for the West Point U.S. Military Academy.

“Honestly, it’s a great feeling to get nominated because only 10 people do (for the U.S. Military Academy),” said Oh, a 17-year-old La Cañada High senior. “There was a big pool this year and it was really competitive. The fact I even got nominated is a very big deal.”

Oh has dreamed of going to the U.S. Military Academy for four years. If accepted, he said he’ll definitely go.

Koeppen, a LCHS graduate, is attempting to get in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Now, he’s dedicated himself to getting in, joining the ROTC at his university. The thought of being accepted into the Air Force Academy almost leaves him speechless.

“I don’t know what I would do, I’ve fantasized about it so many times,” Koeppen said.

The nominees will go on to compete with other nominees around the nation for the available positions in the class that will enter the academies this July. They expect to receive letters of acceptance or denial by the end of March.

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