Graduate profiles: EVHS’ Morrissey and Witt head to naval academy
Special to the Daily
EAGLE —The United States Naval Academy’s Latin motto is Ex Scientia Tridens, which means “Through Knowledge, Sea Power.” Two Eagle Valley High School 2015 graduates will be heading to Annapolis this summer for their first year at the Academy – a prestigious and hard-to-come-by honor.
Natalie Morrissey (who is also the class’s co-valedictorian) and Ben Witt received their appointments to the naval academy this past spring, and both are thrilled with the opportunity. Both attended Brush Creek Elementary and Eagle Valley Middle Schools and are Eagle residents.
EVHS assistant principal Eric Mandeville said Morrissey and Witt are very deserving of the appointments.
“As an educator, I am extremely proud of their accomplishment,” said Mandeville. “Both will serve our country with pride, and I have full confidence in their ability to be the best they can be.”
Morrissey’s Pivotal Moment
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Morrissey became interested in attending a service academy in middle school, but it wasn’t until a significant experience in high school that she solidified her plan.
“My junior year I was the coordinator of Community Service Day at Eagle Valley High School,” said Morrissey. “Over 700 students, parents, community leaders and staff members came together for the largest student volunteer day in the state of Colorado.”
The planning process that began months in advance taught Morrissey the importance of maintaining balance between various responsibilities in her life. Many hours were spent organizing the details of the event, yet she was still able to allocate time to being a successful student-athlete.
“The day of the event proved to instill something entirely different in me,” said Morrissey. “As I witnessed each student recognize that improving the quality of life for our community is an integral part of their education at Eagle Valley High School, I realized my own desire to continue to make a positive impact through service.”
Morrissey believes the experience was extremely beneficial to her overall character. “I believe that there is no greater honor than to serve and protect the United States of America in the armed forces and that there is no better place to pursue this goal than at the USNA.”
Mandeville describes Morrissey to colleagues as a young lady with the skills to lead a sizable company.
“She has drive, natural leadership abilities, intellect and integrity,” said Mandeville.
No doubt for Witt
During his time at Eagle Valley Middle School, Witt had no doubts – he knew he wanted to attend a service academy after graduating from high school.
“I knew that I wanted to be at a service academy in about seventh grade – so when I was around 12 years-old,” said Witt.
He will study aeronautical engineering or mechanical engineering at the academy and hopes to finish flight school, becoming a fighter pilot in the future.
“Yes, it was somewhat ‘Top Gun’ inspired,” Witt said.
Witt plans to train hard during the month of June so that he’s ready to hit the ground running when he arrives at the academy on July 1.
Mandeville said that not only has Witt excelled in the classroom, but that he has been a contributing force in his karate school as well as on the EVHS football and lacrosse teams.
“As a student athlete, Ben has needed to be disciplined with his time management and how he prioritizes his athletic and academic workloads,” said Mandeville. “As an assistant coach to the lacrosse team, Ben continues to demonstrate a willingness to improve and step in where needed.”
“His overall character shines through on a daily basis in the hallways, classroom or on the playing field,” said Mandeville.
Both Morrissey and Witt will miss the Colorado mountains and their families, but they are ready for the next step. And they encourage younger students to always strive to reach their goals.
“Chase your dreams. If there’s a will, there’s a way. It may take longer than you think but don’t ever give up,” said Witt.