Swalwell Announces 2017 Nominees to U.S. Service Academies
CASTRO VALLEY – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) held a reception Monday night in Pleasanton to honor nine students from the 15th Congressional District whom he has nominated to the United States Service Academies.
“These young people, among our communities’ very finest, now are making a solemn commitment to serve and protect our nation,” Swalwell said after the reception for the nominees and their families at Pleasanton’s Veterans Memorial Building. “America’s military service academies are among the world’s top educational institutions, but also have earned their reputations for developing character and encouraging physical achievement. California’s 15th District should be proud of these nominees, and I expect they will continue making us proud for many years to come.”
Ryan M. Warren, 17, of Hayward, graduating from Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, will attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Ryan is president of his school’s Academics for Athletes club, maintains a rigorous academic schedule, and is captain of his JV baseball team. He also volunteers for many community service events with Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley and was a research assistant to Dr. Jagdish Agrawal, dean of the College of Business and Economics at California State University East Bay. Ryan works as a ranch hand at Graceland Equestrian Center in Castro Valley, and says he understands that being mentally strong is as valuable as physical strength.
Michael E. Leonard, 18, of San Ramon, graduating from California High School in San Ramon, will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo. A four-sport athlete earning varsity letters in both cross country and track and field, Michael was the 10th-grade top performer in track and field, finishing the 800-meter in 2:01. He is taking Advanced Placement courses and is a two-time youth soccer Referee of the Year award winner. “I would say that my most important character trait is my humility and my ability to gain people’s trust in order to lead them,” he said.
Fabio Salvioni, 18, of Pleasanton, graduating from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo. Fabio was a North Coast Section Scholar Athlete in 2013, 2014 and 2015; a Foothill High academic letter holder in 2015; and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction in 2016. He has made varsity every year since being a freshman, and also plays saxophone, flute and clarinet in the school's wind ensemble. Fabio was first in his family to be born in the United States; both his parents are from Italy, and he is fluent in Italian and has a strong sense of his Italian heritage. Fabio’s hobbies include working on his car, camping, and scuba diving. “I am very excited for my opportunity at the Air Force Academy and hope to pursue a career as an Air Force pilot after graduation,” he said.
Jonah Ong, 18, of Pleasanton, graduating from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, will attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. As a member of the varsity swimming team, he won the California State Championships in 2016 as well as the North Coast Section Championships in 2015 and 2016. He also holds a Foothill High academic letter and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction award. Jonah enjoys studying Japanese, visiting Japan, eating sushi, and playing with his dog, Kona.
Jonathan R. Liu, 18, of Pleasanton, graduating from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Jonathan is a varsity wrestler and has obtained his second-degree black belt in taekwondo. He plays the electric guitar for his church and is involved in its youth group. He attended the Naval Academy Summer Seminar before his senior year and also has attended the Boys State leadership program. “I am honored to have this opportunity to attend the United States Military Academy and will forever be grateful,” he said.
Jae Y. Kim, 18, of San Ramon, graduating from Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, will attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Jae was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the United States in 2001. As citizens of the Republic of Korea, Jae and his older brother would have been obligated to serve a mandatory two-year military conscription service upon turning 18; Jae decided to give up his dual citizenship status, and instead pursue a career in the U.S. Navy. “I was grateful for the freedom and opportunity that this country has given to me and my family, so I have decided to dedicate my life to service to this country, my family, my peers, and to myself,” he said.
Samuel R. Lee, 18, of Union City, graduating from Redwood Christian High School in San Lorenzo, will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo. Samuel has served as his school’s junior-class secretary and is currently the senior-class president. He also is the varsity cross country team captain while maintaining a heavy schedule of Advanced Placement classes. He is an active member of his school's Interact Club, Bull and Bear Club, Club 4:10, and California Scholastic Federation, as well as a volunteer in a Vacation Bible School and a part of his church orchestra. “My experience at the American Legion California Boys State has greatly inspired me to continue a life of service,” he said.
Joshua D. Ott, 18, of Pleasanton, graduating from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo. Joshua placed second in mechanical engineering at the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair, and is a student board representative at his high school. He also completed a summer internship at the Stanford Institutes of Medicine; he is founder and president of his school’s Space and Astronomy Club; he is a UNICEF volunteer; he is a Science for Youth leader; and he is an umpire for the Pleasanton Foothill Little League.
Andre Lusan, 18, of Hayward, graduating from Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, will attend the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in West Point, N.Y. He has played soccer throughout his time in high school, including varsity for two years. Andre has a passion for photography and has served as vice president of his school’s Ski Club, as a Sustainability Corps coordinator, and as a Dragon Ambassador responsible for introducing prospective students and parents to life at O’Dowd. In 2016, he received his school’s Mathematics Department Award for Academic Excellence.