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A Look at the Semester

(Academics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Monty Rickey

The spring weather has finally arrived! This semester has been chaotic, to say the least. This year has definetly been challenging with school, a long winter, of course the pandemic, and constantly changing schedules. I am in Golf Company but moved to a Hotel triple for a month or two. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the semester, because I got to know two people I had not previously known and living in a triple is always fun. I also ended up getting contact traced for COVID and ended up in Munro for two weeks. Luckily, my friend that tested positive, my Munro roommate, and I all ended up healthy. I was moving during online school, so it was not too hard to keep up with everything. Although Hotel was nice, a few days ago, I moved back to Golf and it great to be home.

Other than moving multiple times in the last few months, school has also been crazy. I love being an ORCA major and am in a lot of major specific classes, compared to 4/c year. I think my favorite class is Mathematical Statistics because I specifically love the probability and statistics aspect of math. Next semester, I want to take an independent study and dive deeper into probability theory, so I am excited about that. We also take programming classes, specifically in Python, and learn about R Studio in terms of statistics, which is awesome. What I love about the ORCA major is that it gives us the opportunity to learn about several types and aspects of math that I didn’t know about. It also opens my eyes to how much math is in the world around us and truly integrated into everything we do.

Now that it is spring, the women’s water polo season has started. Because of COVID, though, we are not playing games or tournaments, like we would during a normal season. I love playing water polo because I’ve never done it before, and the team is awesome. I swam in high school, but water polo is so different, and I love learning about it.

A few days ago, the 4/c took their Boards, which is a cumulative oral test of all Coast Guard indoctrination knowledge they have been studying since Swab Summer. It was awesome to see all of them do exceptionally well and transition into becoming 3/c this summer and next year. I am excited to see the 4/c as 3/c and so see my class as 2/c. After watching Billet Night, I am so hyped to see my class grow throughout the next two years!


She Kills Monsters

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

Last semester, a friend texted me, no context, “Do you want to be an evil cheerleader?” Of course, I said yes. It turns out she was talking about the spring play. This year, the Drama Club put on She Kills Monsters, a 2011 play by Qui Nguyen about a girl who loses her family in a car crash and starts playing Dungeons and Dragons to connect with memories of her sister. It’s a sweet story about love and acceptance, and our leads absolutely knocked it out of the park.

For theater at the Academy, there’s usually a fall play, entirely cadet-run, and a spring musical, put together by a fantastic team of people including Academy/Alumni Center staff and New London community members. Last February I was in the chorus for the musical, and I can honestly say it was the most fun I had that semester. Both productions count as a sports credit.

This year, because of COVID, there was no spring musical. The play happened the last weekend of February and was streamed online in addition to having a live, socially distanced audience in Leamy Hall. Even though we had to adapt to be COVID-safe, it was absolutely worth it all to hear that people like it.

I didn’t act before coming to the Academy. I was involved with theater behind-the-scenes as part of the band for my high school’s musicals, but previous experience isn’t needed to be a part of Drama Club. If you’ve ever wanted to try out acting, it’s an awesome opportunity! For this production, we also had a 4/c student director, and she was amazing both for theatrical insight and managing logistics. You don’t have to be on stage to get involved with theater; you can direct or be a part of the tech/makeup team. One of the things I like best about the Academy is that, as such a small school, it’s possible to walk onto a lot of teams and activities. Theater is no exception!


Mock Trial

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

I joined the mock trial team this semester. The Coast Guard has many opportunities for grad school after the Academy, including law school, which is a possibility I’ve recently begun to consider. What is less well-known are the ways to prepare for grad school as a cadet or to explore what interests you might want to pursue in further education. Mock trial is a fantastic opportunity to help solidify your future goals.

Since this was my first year, I participated as a witness. This semester, the team is ten people: six lawyers, three witnesses, and one alternate. The lawyers are divided into two teams, the defense and prosecution. Each side prepares a case based on a packet and the help of coaches. Our coach, LT Fritz, is a new instructor at the Academy this year. He began his career as a lawyer with the Marines but went to flight school to become a helicopter pilot. He then commissioned into the Coast Guard as a pilot and eventually returned to the law. He has a wealth of knowledge in both aviation and litigation. I hope that, as a government major, I have the opportunity to take one of his classes in the future.

Ordinarily, the team starts practicing at the start of the fall semester. This year, because of complications related to COVID, we began in January, so we elected not to participate in competition because of logistical and time constraints. In a normal year, the Academy team travels to Yale University to compete, giving participating cadets the chance to get off-base and network with like-minded college students. A handful of our team had participated in mock trial or moot court competitions in high school, but experience is not a requirement to join. I walked onto the team with no clue what I was doing and still had a blast. If you’re interested, I would highly recommend seeking out the club at the activities fair at the Academy.


Bittersweet Returns

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2021) Permanent link
Juliana Lehnerova

The fall semester was our first semester back at the Academy since the pandemic, and the first time since March that I got to see some of my friends. While it was great to be with the corps again, it was very different from what I was used to. We couldn’t all eat dinner together anymore, or sit next to one another in class, and any gathering had its masks and restrictions and social distancing. It was certainly something to get used to, and I felt that I was losing many of the things I loved about the Academy.

I have loved horses since I was little and joined Equestrian Club as soon as I got to the Academy. With many activities curtailed, I chose this time to become more serious about my riding - and to bring a few friends along for the ride. It was amazing to have the chance to share my passion with my friends and watch them fall in love with my sport. We started going out riding more often and developed deeper relationships with one another and with the animals we rode. After feeling that many things were “taken away” by the pandemic, it was a great consolation to still have a passion toward which I could direct my energy. It was a balm to the sense of loss and sometimes loneliness that came with the pandemic.

As the semester went on, I was able to discover more passions. I went along to horse shows with our club advisor and learned how to take photos of horses, especially in action. I fell in love with photography and looked forward to the weekends when I would be able to practice my new craft at the shows. Other cadets came with me. Together, we found creative ways to be together and pursue what we loved while staying safe. Moreover, going to events all over the area and seeing people of all ages enjoying themselves and persevering through the difficulties of the new post-COVID world was inspiring. It challenged us to be creative and intentional with the way we spend our time.

Despite the many challenges of the past semester, I am excited to come back for more. While I still reminisce over the things I lost, it is hard to be sad for long when there is so much that I have gained. I can’t wait to get my billet in March and see what the next chapter has in store for me!


Cadet Music

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Teegan Cordova

I’ve played guitar since I was eight, so music has always been an influential part of my life. My sophomore year of high school, I joined the jazz band, and to this day, the people I’ve met through music are some of my best friends. When I received an appointment to the Academy in 2019, I worried that I would have to give up playing in a college jazz band to pursue a career in the Coast Guard. Thankfully, that has not been the case.

The Academy jazz band is directed by Mr. Frenkel, a fantastic warrant officer who also works with the Windjammers drum and bugle corps. Band helped me survive 4/c year. A few low-key hours of playing music every week was a relief from military training and academics, and it gave me a steadfast community of friends and mentors.

During the fall 2020 semester, after an initial quarantine and with continued surveillance testing, the corps was able to meet in-person for socially distanced activities. Jazz band moved from the basement room we used to share with the Coast Guard Band to Leamy ballroom, allowing for sufficient spacing between cadets to prevent virus transmission (and giving us access to the disco ball). Although 3/c year is generally less stressful than 4/c year because there are fewer military obligations, the changes necessitated by COVID created an uncertain environment, and I found the same solace in band last semester that I did fresh out of Swab Summer. We were even able to record about 20 minutes of Christmas songs that I could send to my grandparents in Colorado. Having just a touch of something so normal made all the difference.

In addition to the jazz band, the Academy has a concert band (that plays with Connecticut College across the street in non-COVID times), several vocal ensembles, a recently minted orchestra club, and the Windjammers marching band (and dance team!). If you like music but don’t want to be part of a structured group, there’s an annual talent show, and you can route a special request through your company officer to keep almost any instrument in your room--both my roommate and I have a guitar, and I know of at least two cellos in our company. Even if music isn’t your jam, I would highly recommend that you get involved with an extracurricular at the Academy. There are so many ways to find likeminded people and keep doing the things you love.


My Glee Trip

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Joshua Orbe

My favorite of all the clubs and activities I’m involved in at the Academy (29 last time I checked) is being a part of the Coast Guard Academy Glee Club.

Our group sings patriotic songs and sea shanties. We further separate into the Fairwinds and Idlers, the all-female and all-male groups. I have had so much fun being a part of glee. Besides really enjoying singing, I get to see and experience so many things. I get to travel and taste new foods. I get to interact with potential applicants and perform for Coast Guard and government officials all the time.

The best part of being in glee though, is the people. Our director, Robert Newton, has been with the group for 50 years. He is like a cool uncle/grandpa to me. When my mom came to visit me from the Philippines, he helped coordinate the surprise. It is people like him that make the Academy community great.

Over the weekend, I saw my first Bar Mitzvah, stood on a frozen lake, sang at a high school, went to Medieval Times for the first time, and had a really touching performance at a church.

There were more than a few veterans in the audience. When we left the church, one man stood outside and saluted us all. It felt surreal. I sometimes forget that I am a servant of my country. I hope that I can be worthy of my future responsibilities and of the respect of the people. I hope to honor the legacy of those who served before me and those who will after me.


The Dark Ages

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Greetings from the dark ages! As the skies turn their lovely perpetual grey, New England has progressively gotten colder since the last time I wrote for the blog. We call these winter months the dark ages, and my family likes to joke that February of all months is the darker ages. These days, the Academy is known for being a downer, yet I am here to shed some light on these dreary winter months.

This year I decided to switch things up a bit. This time last year I was singing and dancing in preparation for the Spring Musical, 9 to 5. I made a big decision this time around and decided to pursue Indoor Track and Field instead! After some reflection, and an amazing Cross Country season, I realized I wanted to continue my training. I could not be happier with my decision. I have bonded with the team more so now than ever. Track meets take up most weekends, and lengthy practices provide a great outlet for stress relief after a long day of school. Now more than ever, with the cold weather and longer nights, my friends and teammates have made a difference with just being able to stay afloat at the Academy.

Some of my newer activities include some clubs I have been recently taking more part in. This past semester I became CASA qualified, meaning I am a member of the Cadets Against Sexual Harassment club, and I am qualified to take reports and speak confidentially with my shipmates for whatever the situation may be. In addition, I am writing for the Creative Writing Club, constantly taking my inspiration to paper to share with my shipmates. As a sophomore, I have taken a different approach to the Academy, having one year under my belt. I wanted to branch out as well as I could, while still having time for homework and school.

I like to think that the Academy offers many great opportunities to become a part of the community. I am still a member of the Glee Club and the Fairwinds, and we travel quite often to bring the music of the Academy to the local community. Going beyond the local community, this Spring Break we are traveling to Florida! I am super excited to represent not only the Academy but also the entire Coast Guard with my voice as we travel the great sunshine state. For all my Florida readers, keep an ear out for tales sung of the ocean and its lore!

As always, I am most easily reached at my email: [email protected].


One Semester Down, 7 More To Go

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link
Monty Rickey

Hey guys! I just finished my first semester here at the Academy. I tried many new things and learned a lot about myself. In high school I ran cross country and swam, however coming into the Academy, I didn’t know which sport I was going to participate in, because I wanted to try something new. In the fall, I tried both women’s rugby and Sandhurst, and in the spring, I am going to try women’s water polo. Even though I’ve never played the sport, the water polo team seems great, so I’m super excited. I also want to work backstage during the spring musical, because that is something I’ve never done before and seems like a really cool experience. During the beginning of the year, I considered switching majors, from ORCA to Cyber Systems, and therefore took Statics my first semester. I can now switch to any major, including any engineering majors, however after taking Statics, I definitely want to stay ORCA. Unexpectedly, however, one of my favorite classes was American Social Movements. American Social Movements covered various social movements in history, from women’s right to labor unions. It was super cool to learn about different perspectives and collaborate with other 4/c in my class. I also took Calculus II this semester and, as a classic math major, I am extremely excited for Multivariable Calculus and Discrete Math next semester. Overall, I am looking forward to getting into more major-specific classes next semester and continuing to try new things!

Feel free to contact me with any questions at [email protected]