BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — When Rory Smith arrives at the U.S. Naval Academy on June 30, he’ll bring just his phone, documents and the clothes on his back.
“They put you in clothes, they take your clothes and your phone and lock them somewhere. You’re a new person,” said Rory, a 2022 Anthony Wayne High School graduate.
While Rory just made the decision to attend the Naval Academy a few weeks ago, he’s visited Annapolis several times over the years. Brother Cameron graduates from the academy on Friday, May 27. Brother Cayden, a 2021 graduate, is also at the academy, along with 2020 AW grads Sam Schofield and Nolan Barber.
“They helped make the experience more relatable and helped me understand how it’s not really that militaristic. It’s more like an American civilian college. Knowing that all these people I grew up with and saw around school can go to this university and institution – it means that I can do it, too,” he said.
While hearing about the four AW grads’ experiences was influential, it was a weekend experience shadowing a freshman last fall that sealed the deal.
“When you look at it from behind the bar, you think that it’s more rigorous or uptight. When you get there, you see that they’re normal kids – the same way as every other college once you get inside the dorm,” he said. “I really like the environment. Everyone was extremely interesting and funny but also disciplined.”
While he’s grown his hair out knowing that it will be cut short soon, Rory said he’s going to balance relaxing with studying so that he can arrive at the academy ready to test out of freshman courses.
Throughout high school, Rory has taken almost all of the AP classes, including calculus, chemistry and physics, so his weighted GPA is 4.67. His favorite class was World War II history with teacher Jeremy Terwilliger.
In addition to taking AP classes, Rory is the president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter and co-chair of the Waterville Historical Society Student Advisory Committee. He’s also involved in student council, Interact and Link Crew and plays saxophone for the symphonic winds band.
A pitcher for the Generals baseball team, Rory also runs cross country and swims for the high school. When preparing to get into the academy, Rory had to do a physical fitness test that’s based on run time, pushups and pullups, and when he arrives, he’ll need to pass a swim test.
At the Naval Academy, midshipmen are required to do some sort of sport or intermural activity. Rory is looking at options including long distance running, fencing and marching band.