'Choose the thing that's unique:' Naval Academy students from Fargo visit local schools

Many college students from the region will be headed back home for Thanksgiving break, but not all of them will be on vacation.

Loren Steinberg of Fargo, attends the US Naval Academy. She talked with Fargo Schools Air Force Junior ROTC at Fargo South on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News
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FARGO — In an effort to get more metro high school students to apply for appointments at military academies, Naval Academy students home for the holiday visited area high schools on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The Air Force Junior ROTC had a visitor from the Navy at Fargo South High School, sharing stories of her first hours spent at the U.S. Naval Academy.

"I called a sir a ma'am, and a ma'am a sir, you know, they're yelling at you for that," said midshipman Loren Steinberg of her first day there.

Steinberg of Fargo is in her first year at the Naval Academy.

"I don't even know at what time in the morning, they like, pound on your door, like, 'wake up, wake up,'" Steinberg said.


The former Park Christian High School student spent the morning Tuesday sharing her story, hoping some of the students will think about following in her footsteps.

"It was hard, but it's just a great place to be at. It is a hard place to be at, but it's a great place to be from, and I think that sometimes in the daily grind we don't always see that," Steinberg said.

Across town at West Fargo High School, Ian Pytlik had a lot of stories to share with students.

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"Whatever else you want to do, it (the academy) is in Annapolis, Maryland," Pytlik said to students, standing beside USNA brochures at the cafeteria.

Pytlik is a midshipman first class at the Naval Academy and in his last year there.

"There's an easy road and a hard road and a lot of times it's like, 'I'm going to pick the easy road,' and it's what we're used to, right?" Pytlik said.

The Oak Grove High School graduate said it was the right choice for him out of high school.

"Choose the thing that's unique. Do something unique," Pytlik said.


Thirty students from the region attend the three military academies right now. Their current goal is to get more to apply.

"It's one of the toughest institutions, universities, to get into (with) over 40,000 applicants every year for about a 1,000 slots," said Col. Steven Muhs, who helps direct Air Force Junior ROTC at Fargo schools.

All students applying to the Naval Academy still need a nomination from a member of Congress, however, the nomination is no guarantee of an appointment to the academy.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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