Brian Conlisk had just gotten home from basketball practice when he saw an email notifying him that Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) was nominating him for admission to the Naval Academy.
“I was ecstatic,” Conlisk, 17, told The Reporter about the nomination. He said he informed his parents soon after seeing the email. “It meant the world to me (being nominated). I always wanted to go to the Naval Academy. This is a huge step for me.”
Conlisk, of Oak Lawn and a Brother Rice High School student, is among 14 other students who Lipinski nominated for admission to the Air Force, West Point and the Naval Academy for the graduating class of 2020. The students were honored during a U.S. Military Nomination Ceremony on Saturday at the Johnson-Phelps VFW Post, 9514 S. 52nd Ave., Oak Lawn.
Lipinski said it was “great to see the room filled” right before he spoke to the parents of the nominees.
“You’ve instilled values of hard work and effort in our nominees. Thank you for doing that,” he said.
He continued by congratulating the nominees.
“I wish you the best moving forward,” Lipinski said. “If there’s anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m always here to help. I thank you again. It makes me proud to be an American and your representative that you are willing to represent your country.”
According to Lipinski’s office, the admissions departments of the service academies make the final decision on acceptance. Each of the nominees will be notified by the service academies if they have been accepted.
Conlisk, who dreamed about being a pilot since he was a young kid, wants to become a pilot with the Naval Academy.
“I think the Naval Academy has leadership qualities unmatched by any other college,” Conlisk told The Reporter following the ceremony. “I hope to be a pilot with them.”
Sydney Torres, 18, who also was nominated for admission to the Naval Academy, hopes to get a degree from there and do cyber security.
She said the nomination means a lot to her.
“It shows how hard work pays off in the end, and not to quit,” Torres, a Richards High School student, told The Reporter following the ceremony.
Michael Gurule Jr., 17, of Crest Hill, agreed.
“Doing all the hard work finally paid off,” Gurule told The Reporter. The Lockport Township High School student also was nominated for admission to the Naval Academy.
The nomination “meant everything,” Gurule said. “I wanted to go into the Marines forever. I hope to become a mechanical engineer.”