Pleasanton grads among Swalwell's nominees to U.S. service academies

Six students selected for academics, leadership, extra-curriculars, more

Two recent Pleasanton high school graduates were among six students nominated this year by Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) to attend U.S. service academies.

Rohit Menon from Amador Valley High will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., while Foothill High grad Matthew Kim will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo.

They were joined by four other nominees selected from Swalwell's 15th Congressional District.

"This diverse group of young men and women represents the best of California’s 15th Congressional District: They are leaders in their schools and communities who are eager to apply their amazing talents and skills to the service of our nation," Swalwell said after a reception held in their honor Saturday in Dublin.

Students who attend a service academy are required to serve in the military for at least five years after graduating. Swalwell's nominations for the academies, according to the congressman's office, were based holistically on students' academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation.

Swalwell's selection panel consisted of veterans and distinguished community members from the 15th District, whom he thanked at the Saturday event.

From Pleasanton, Menon, 17, is a track-and-field athlete who earned a varsity letter all four years of high school. He also received an All-American Bronze Medal in the 4x100 relay at the 2016 USA Track and Field Junior Olympics, and was a North Coast Section track-and-field finalist for three consecutive years in high school.

Off the track, Menon was named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and competed nationally and at the state level for his school's mock trial and speech and debate teams. He enjoys playing the piano and digital music production.

Kim, 18, is the city's other nominee. He served as captain of Foothill's varsity swim and water polo teams, along with taking part in the school's marching band, playing clarinet, piano and tuba.

During high school, Kim founded his own company, Shard Designs, which manufactures portable sketching tools. He crowdsourced over $25,000 for design and manufacturing costs, and so far has sold 1,500 tools. He will join his sister already attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Other local honorees were Amir Udler and Victor Wang from San Ramon, Isabella Adamos from Dublin and Bianca Greer from Hayward.

"Just as these students have earned reputations for their determination and success, the United States Service Academies have earned reputations for building character and academic excellence," Swalwell said. "I know Bianca, Amir, Rohit, Victor, Isabella and Matthew will give this challenge their all, and be great assets to our armed services."

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3 people like this
Posted by Marty
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:36 pm

An appointment the Military academy is fantastic,but where is the help the many kids that do not attend the school activities, because jobs and helping their parents meet the financial requirements of life,takes all their time?
Just not seem fair that the privileged get the breaks. Are we raising children that the only way to an education, is to get a gun and rob a store, then prison and a free education. No there has got to be a better way. The good kids that hold jobs all during their high school years,need to be rewarded, rather than punished, for not being involved with sports and activities.

4 people like this
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Many, many colleges will take into account a job held after school with equal weight as a sport or club. Perhaps even more. They key is to also get good grades, and be able to tell your story in the essays. Many private colleges, in particular, will offer strong financial aid to needy students and are especially looking to identify first-generation college students who have worked hard (yes, at jobs AND at school) to get to this point. It just so happens that many Pleasanton kids are involved in things like sports, music and clubs. But most colleges look well beyond that.

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 12, 2018 at 7:43 pm

Equal opportunity does not mean equal amount of work to achieve that same opportunity.

We've somehow lost our way of measuring progression in this country. My grandfather came over poor. He, like many others, worked several hourly and factory jobs to support his family. He set expectations for his kids to do better than he did, and they have done the same for theirs, and we are now doing the same for ours. Each generation has created a more opportune path for the next to better position themselves to take advantage of those opportunities.

We shouldn't complain about the ease at which the privilege get to achieve some things because theyre not burdened with the same limitations as others, we should instead continue to push each generation to make it easier for the next by building that same privilege.

Idealistic sure, but we should be more aligned to this than - "priya privlige doesnt have to work a part time job, why should she get rewarded for studying hard and getting better grades that earn her into a great school but i can't work that hard and can only get into a good school because i have to work part time too - that's not fair, whaa"

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Nominations due by Sept. 16

Pleasanton Weekly and are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

Nomination form