Ste. Genevieve High School senior Sam Stolzer will be headed to the East Coast this fall to follow his dream of serving in the military.
Stolzer has been accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a four-year public college whose attendees graduate as commissioned officers.
Stolzer first became interested in the Naval Academy the summer before his junior year.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to join the military service, but I didn’t know the exact route that I wanted to take,” he said. “Once I heard about the service academies and began looking into them, I realized this is how I want to do it. I went all in.”
With a 9 percent acceptance rate, the U.S. Naval Academy is extremely selective, and the application process is rigorous. Students must be nominated by a senator, member of congress, current naval officer or veteran; undergo a personal interview; and submit SAT or ACT scores; take a medical exam and a fitness assessment; and complete several forms. Stolzer received nominations from both U.S. Representative Jason Smith and former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.
“Sam has always strived to do extremely well in school — he’s a very driven person,” said his mother, Andrea Stolzer. “So when he decided that he wanted to attend the Naval Academy and serve in our military, we knew he was going to do everything he could to make it happen.”
Throughout school, Stolzer has excelled in both academics and extracurricular activities, building his leadership skills through National Honor Society, Student Council, Missouri Boys State, class officer positions and team captain positions; a team mentality through basketball, baseball, and cross country; and a focus on service through Missouri Stream Team, and the Challenger Baseball buddy program, among many others.
“I really feel that the education Sam received in the Ste. Genevieve public schools was top-notch, and that all of his teachers, from elementary to high school, have given him the opportunity to excel,” Andrea Stolzer said.
All academy students receive a full scholarship that includes tuition, room and board, and medical and dental expenses. Graduates become officers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps and fulfill a five-year service obligation following graduation. As of right now, Sam Stolzer’s dream is to become a Naval aviator.
“What drives me is seeing the pride on veterans’ faces,” Sam Stolzer said. “This path won’t make you rich, but I cannot think of a more fulfilling occupation than one that provides a safe home for generations to come.”
Sam isn’t the first in his family to serve his nation. Both grandfathers served: Vincent Stolzer was in the Army, and James Vaeth served in the Air Force. His uncle, David Vaeth, was in the Air Force, and his cousin, Daniel Stolzer, was in the Army.
(Information in a release from the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District.)