I peered into my mailbox to find a slip that read Navy in the top left hand corner. Repeatedly, I tried to convince myself that this could not be a response from the Naval Academy, but when I received the package in hand I knew otherwise. I wanted nothing more than tear the package open where I stood, but if this was an appointment it was not just mine, it was a Greystone appointment. Immediately I sprinted towards Greystone with package in hand looking for the first staff member I could find. I saw Captain Vortmann and an excuse to open it. I entered his office and waved the envelope; he knew what it was and immediately came to my side. I eagerly tore at the package like a present on Christmas day to reveal a navy blue portfolio. Inside, laid the answer to all my hardships and sacrifices that I had endured the last five months. “I am pleased to offer you an appointment to the United States Naval Academy,” read the first line. Those first fourteen words, not only held my future, but my past. Tears formed, all the struggles that I had faced had not been in vain. A wave of relief overcame me as I realized my path had finally been paved.
My experience at Greystone Preparatory School has been a life changing experience. Last year, when I was a senior, I applied to just the Naval Academy. When I received that thin, white envelope acknowledging that I had been rejected, I didn’t have the disappointed feeling that I thought I was going to have. Sure, I was upset but I was fully ready to just move on and find a different path into the military. When I discovered Greystone, I was completely ready to enlist into the Navy. Without Greystone and its preparation for me, I would not have earned my appointment. Greystone, along with CDR Bailey and his staff, have prepared me for success. What would seem to others to be hell, is actually preparation for a successful Plebe Summer. Earning my appointment to the Naval Academy wasn’t just getting a letter, it was opening my future.
My experience here at Greystone has exceeded my expectations of what prep school is. When I first arrived, I thought it was a program focused on just academics or just athletics. What is so unique and helpful about Greystone is that it is a well rounded program, focused on furthering each and every person academically, athletically, and leadership-wise as well. I am so appreciative of everything Greystone and the staff has done for me to help me earn my appointment. The day I opened my package that had the folder in it was the happiest day of my experience here and want to thank all of the staff for helping me and my follow classmates every step of the way.
To those pursuing a Service Academy, it is certain that, with hard work and dedication at Greystone, you will achieve your dream of attending one of the Service Academies. The Greystone Program is designed to give young men and women, who are interested in the military life, a similar experience to the life at a Service Academy. For me, Greystone has helped me get on the right path and achieve my dream [Naval Academy]. There is a saying here at Greystone that you will hear time and time again by CDR Bailey; “The amount of time and effort that you put in now will decide your future.” With this in mind you need to take care of yourself and your teammates. Keep in mind what you are at Greystone to do and NEVER let this leave your mind. Be sure to know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish before your arrival in August and by the end of the year, you'll be there.
My experiences at Greystone Preparatory School have further advanced my abilities as a scholar, athlete, and a leader capable of excelling at the United States Air Force Academy. The staff has helped tremendously throughout the whole process and made sure that my application was the best it could be before submitting it to the academies. I have learned to study smarter by time managing and earned a coveted spot on The President's List. In addition, my SAT/ACT scores increased tremendously with the programs that the staff suggested for use and by taking the tests every month. Greystone better prepared me for the physical aspects of the academy by doing group PT throughout the entirety of the first semester. The training did not only help me when it was time for our monthly CFA, but increased team moral and unity, even though it was at 0545. The opportunity to serve as Vice President for the fall semester was a very rewarding experience. It taught me delegation and responsibility for those under your command. Although nobody likes to be rejected, I see coming here as a blessing in disguise. I have made lifelong friends with the same goals and motivation to achieve greatness. I am now more prepared than I could have ever been right out of high school and will excel faster than my peers at the Air Force Academy as a scholar, athlete, and leader.
I knew walking in to Greystone that I was going to have to work hard. I was not fully prepared, nor did I realize, just how much of me it would require, however. Greystone has required all of me. I have learned that all aspects of my life: academic, athletic, personal, professional, and spiritual, must all be on board and working together. I can no longer focus on one area without the other. Time management must work with energy management, and hard work must be matched with hard play. One of the banner quotes of this year comes from Stephen Vincent Benet: "Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in a thousand small uncaring ways." This year Greystone has challenged me, knocked me over, helped me back up, and pushed me and my teammates to new heights.
In short, Greystone has provided an opportunity to improve myself in academics, athletics, and leadership. The environment provided by the exemplary staff is ideal for those with integrity to strive for excellence to achieve just that. I have been able to further develop my study skills in all fields of academia, continue to push my body beyond exhaustion in physical training, and test varying leadership styles/traits I will combine to find the efficient leadership style that suits me. Although I was saddened to know there was not enough room for me at the United States Military Academy at West Point last year, I do not regret being a part of the Greystone program and I would highly recommend any self-driven individual with the goal of attending a military academy to join the growing Greystone Legacy.