Two weeks after he turns the tassel on his graduation cap, 18-year-old Jamen DesCartes will report to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) in New London, Connecticut, where he will officially become a cadet in the Class of 2014 after completing an intensive eight-week session called “Swab Summer.”
DesCartes, a 2010 graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School (CAHS), St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, distinguished his high school career by leading as captain of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) unit to a win for the third year in a row at the annual territorial Caribbean Drill Competition held on April 17. DesCartes, who says his favorite subject is math, also excelled in academics and graduated with a 3.7 grade point average or high ‘A’.
He became interested in attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 10th grade when a relative suggested he apply to the academy’s summer Academy Introductory Mission program (A.I.M.).
“A.I.M. was really fun,” says DesCartes. “I saw right away that I wanted to go to the academy. I want to major in civil engineering.” DesCartes was offered an early appointment to the CGA in December; however, it was officially presented to him during CAHS’s Honor Night in June by LTJG Biann I. Creque. Creque, a 1999 CAHS graduate, received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University in Atlanta, Georgia, and then enlisted into the U.S. Coast Guard after seeing a commercial on television. After completing basic training at the Coast Guard’s training facility in Cape May, New Jersey, Creque was accepted into Officer Candidate School in New London. She has worked in communications and has been stationed in Miami, Florida, and in the Bahamas, before taking her present position as a communications systems engineer in Portsmouth, Virginia.
“The opportunities and responsibilities that the Coast Guard offers really enable you to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Creque.
Founded in 1876 and ranked among the nation’s most prestigious and selective institutions of higher learning, the CGA is an academic and military community educating future leaders for America.
This year, more than 20,000 students inquired about admissions and over 4,000 submitted an application to the Coast Guard Academy. Of those, less than 400 were appointed, and 290 will swear in this summer to the Class of 2014. Since there are no Congressional nominations, appointments are based on merit and, therefore, the most qualified applicants are selected regardless of where they live.
A scholarship is valued at $300,000 and the appointment offers a total life experience. The campus provides a secure, supportive and highly structured environment for a unique higher education experience focusing on academics, athletics, leadership and professional military development.