Senior Caleb Gelvin Plans to Attend the United States Air Force Academy


Credit to Sam Watkins

By Aadhi Sathishkumar

As he gets ready to leave high school and enter the real world, senior Caleb Gelven hopes to attend the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Denver.

“I got interested in the Academy when I was looking into college my freshman year,” Gelven said. “I have wanted to fly jets since I was a young kid.”

Though Gelven is dedicated to enrolling in USAFA after high school, joining the Academy is not as simple as joining a conventional college. Applicants go through a competitive process to be accepted. Vigorous physical standards, a good GPA and high ACT scores are necessary. Applicants must also get congressional recommendations for the academy and write essays on why they want to join.

“It is very selective, it’s not very cut and dry,” Brooke Prestidge, FHN’s college and career counselor, said. “They look at a lot of things. They look at physical fitness, leadership, academics, community service. Top of the top for everything.”

Gelven is on top of his schoolwork, with a current GPA of 4.3 and a 29 on the ACT, he stands a good chance of getting in. Gelven, a captain of the swim team and member of both the bowling and golf teams, is also physically capable of doing the tough tests given to the applicants. He has sent letters to senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, as well as representative Blaine Luetkemeyer, for his required congressional recommendation.

“I do think he has a good chance. He is a great candidate,” Prestidge said. “He is high achieving, he has great leadership skills and he was very prepared for this process. Applying to the Academy is a really intense process and you have to be organized and you have to be on top of it and he was. He was ready to go with all of his documents and letters of recommendation he needed at the very beginning. I think he exhibits the skills they are looking for.”

Caleb has other options if it doesn’t work out. If he isn’t accepted to the Air Force Academy, he plans to do an ROTC program in college, which fosters the traits necessary for a career in the military.

“My second choice for college would be Purdue, Mizzou or Ole Miss. For a job, my second choice would be a commercial pilot or firefighter,” Caleb said. “If I do go to a different college, I will do the Air Force ROTC.”

Looking ahead, Caleb is enthusiastic and keeps a positive attitude about his future in the military and after high school.

“I’ve wanted to serve my entire life,’’ said Caleb. “I just didn’t know what branch until now.”