Two buddies who used to prank their fellow schoolmates at St. Joseph Catholic School are now headed for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Tommy Brennan and Andrew Newell were best friends and soccer teammates as younger children, then went different directions during high school.
Brennan became a standout kicker for Hockinson High School. He was a three-year starter and made first team all-league and all-region as a senior. He is also an honors student at Hockinson High and participated in the Air Force Junior ROTC at Prairie High School. He was recruited not only by the Academy, but also by Harvard University. He will play football for the Academy.
Newell, meanwhile, attended Jesuit High School in Portland, and has two state tennis titles and is a three-time state champion. He was chosen to represent the Pacific Northwest at the Pacific Cup in tennis two separate years. He also served as a tennis teacher and tutor at Portland After School Tennis and Education. He was recruited by the Academy for tennis last summer.
Both young men will have their tuition, food and lodging paid for by the Academy and will commit to five years of military service after graduation.
Newell said he originally did not think military life was for him, but then realized the rare opportunity military life offers.
"I've had many people tell me that after attending the Naval Academy or West Point, you can virtually write your own ticket in life. So hopefully the academy instills in me the values necessary to be a successful leader in the military and a successful leader in the workforce after my five years of service."
Brennan says he has visited the Academy and not only is it "amazingly beautiful," but also inspiring.
"You can sense the patriotism there," he said. "I look forward to serving my country in the way the academy provides for me. I'm looking forward to its huge character-building program and developing myself morally."
Brennan is the son of Thomas and Leilani Brennan, and Newell is the son of Woody and Carolyn Newell, all of Vancouver.