SANDY HOOK, NJ – Nine members of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) graduating class of 2015 graduating seniors are joining the military, either enlisted, ROTC or service academy, CDR Tracie Smith-Yeoman, senior naval science instructor at the Monmouth County vocational high school said this week.
“While nine of our 67 graduates are going in the military, I want to stress that NJROTC at MAST is not a recruitment tool,” Smith-Yeoman pointed out. "The Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps accredited curriculum emphasizes citizenship and leadership development, as well as our maritime heritage, the significance of sea power, and naval topics such as the fundamentals of naval operations, seamanship, navigation and cultural awareness. Classroom instruction is augmented throughout the year by extra-curricular activities of community service, academic, athletic, drill and orienteering competitions, field meets, visits to naval or other activities, and physical fitness training. Electronic classroom equipment, textbooks, uniforms, educational training aids, travel allowance, and a cost-share of instructors' salaries are provided by the Navy."
This year’s acceptance into the military academies means that in September, 22 graduates of MAST will currently be enrolled in US military academies, with nine at the Merchant Marine Academy, eight at the Naval Academy, three at the Coast Guard Academy, and two at the US Military Academy at West Point, and another nine attending college on Navy ROTC scholarships, two on Army ROTC scholarships, and one on Air Force ROTC scholarship
Among this year’s graduates, Dominique Neubelt of Little Silver, earned an appointment to the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and will be joining her quadruplet siblings, Gabrielle, Max, Ethan, and Heidi, all of whom are students at Kings Point. She plans on majoring in Marine Engineering Systems, then be commissioned in the Navy Reserves and pursue a career in the commercial maritime industry.
Brendan McKeever of Middletown, was also appointed to the Merchant Marine Academy and plans on majoring in maritime transportation and security, with a goal of serving in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. Brendan was in the band at Middletown South High School and hopes to continue playing the trombone as part of the distinguished Regimental Band at the Academy.
Kelly Flynn of Brielle, earned an appointment to the Merchant Marine Academy, and will be sailing on the Kings Point Dingy team while she majors in marine transportation with a goal towards being a merchant marine officer.
Leor Golan of Ocean Township, whose parents both served in the Israeli Defense Forces, was appointed to the US Naval Academy, receiving his letter of assurance at the beginning of his senior year. He served in MAST’s color guard as commander and was battalion supply officer as well. At Annapolis, he plans on being a part of the Lightweight Crew Team and will major in aeronautical engineering with a goal to serve in the submarine community.
NROTC scholarship recipients will be enrolled at Rutgers, Penn State, and Cornell universities.
James Abbaticcho of Hazlet was awarded an NROTC scholarship to Rutgers University and is pursuing his career in the military to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. “ A submariner in the Silent Service in the 60's, my grandfather, whom I call "Pa," is like a second father to me, “ Abbaticcho said. “He's taken me on most of my college visits and trips around the world, taught me how to scuba dive from a very young age, and has always been a role model and source of inspiration when times get tough. I attribute much of my success to his teachings and hope to one day be a submariner on a ballistic missile submarine. I would follow him anywhere, and I want to be to others what he is to me: a leader and a friend."
Brady McDonough of Freehold, whose NROTC scholarship is to Penn State where he will major in Aerospace Engineering and Materials. McDonough is ranked in the top 10 per cent of all NROTC scholarship recipients in the country. He is the former Battalion Commander of the MAST NROTC unit. Like Abbatidicco, his role model has been his grandfather, Col. Gabriel Beck, a Marine Corps helicopter pilot during Vietnam who retired after 33 years in the Corps.
Maile McCann from Navesink and Daniel McCormack from New Monmouth each was awarded an NROTC scholarship to Cornell University. McCann, who will be majoring in mechanical engineering, and is the former Battalion Command Master Chief at MAST, is in the top five percent of those accepted into the Tradition Fellows community service program, and will play rugby at Cornell.
McCormack, president of the MAST Class of 2015, and the outgoing community affairs officer for the MAST Battalion, is pursuing a career in either naval intelligence or special warfare. Accepted into Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, he hopes to concentrate on international trade and development and finance.
Timothy Randazzo of Sea Girt opted to accept a delayed enlistment in the US Marine Corps and will leave for basic training in October, with plans to train for Combat Support as a tank crewman.
For the first time in the school’s history, each of the military-bound graduates will b e wearing red,white,, and blue tassels on their mortarboards at Friday’s graduation ceremonies.