DOVER, Del. – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) surprised Delaware students with principal nominations to U.S. service academies during a ceremony held at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base on Dec. 14.

Senator Coons named four high school seniors, all from Kent or Sussex Counties, as principal nominees for appointment to service academies should they meet all medical, physical, and academic requirements.

Amanda Carey, the principal nominee to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, lives in Dover and serves as the executive officer of the JROTC at Dover High School. She is the commander of the color guard and is a member of the drill team. Carey, who takes advanced placement (AP) and honors classes, is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with the Dover Fire Department.

Andrew Garza, a principal nominee to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, is from Dover and is active with the JROTC at Polytech High School. He runs track, take AP classes, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is a self-proclaimed “Air Force brat” since his father works at the base mortuary. Garza, a member of the Civil Air Patrol with a private pilot license, wants to fly F-22 Raptors for the Air Force.

Donald Mendoza, a principal nominee to the U.S. Air Force Academy, resides in Dover and attends Caesar Rodney High School. Mendoza, who was born in the Philippines, serves as the executive officer with the JROTC and leads the drill team. He is an eagle scout in the Boy Scouts of America and has participated in Boys State. Mendoza, who is a member of the National Honor Society, wants to be a C-5 Galaxy pilot in the Air Force.

Mackenzie Irelan, the principal nominee to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, is from Harbeson in Sussex County and attends Cape Henlopen High School. She takes AP classes and is a member of the softball team. Irelan has completed mission trips to Kenya and the Dominican Republic with Foundation for Peace. She wants to major in political science and become an infantry officer in the Army.

Irelan was not at the Dec. 14 ceremony because of a previous commitment to attend the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Right before kickoff, Senator Coons called Irelan to notify her of the nomination officially. During the phone call, one of Senator Coons’ academy board members, Scott Kessel (U.S.M.A. Class of 1987), who himself was at the game, presented Irelan with a congratulatory letter from the senator.

Alternate nominees to the three Department of Defense academies listed above, the nominees for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, and individuals not selected to receive congressional nominations will be notified within the next few weeks.

To download high-resolution photos from this event, visit https://bit.ly/2PVU5Mk

U.S. Senator Chris Coons joins (from left to right) Amanda Carey, Donald Mendoza, and Andrew Garza at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Del., Dec. 14, 2019. These students, who all live and attend high school in Dover, received principal nominations from Senator Coons for appointment to U.S. service academies for the Class of 2024. Download this photo: https://bit.ly/2RYb82Z.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons speaks with Andrew Garza (center) and family members after a ceremony at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Del., Dec. 14, 2019. Garza, a senior at Polytech High School, received a principal nomination for appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. Download this photo:https://bit.ly/36EANBZ.

Amanda Carey stands in front of a B-17 Flying Fortress at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Del., Dec. 14, 2019. Carey, a senior at Dover High School, was named Senator Coons’ principal nominee to the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 2024. Download this photo: https://bit.ly/2ElbzfU.           

Donald Mendoza stands by a C-47 Skytrain at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Del., Dec. 14, 2019. Mendoza, a senior at Caesar Rodney High School, received a principal nomination from U.S. Senator Chris Coons for appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Class of 2024. Download this photo:https://bit.ly/35tFuhQ.         


Mackenzie Irelan, of Harbeson, Del., holds a congratulatory letter from U.S. Senator Chris Coons while attending the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 14, 2019. Irelan, a senior at Cape Henlopen High School, received the senator’s principal nomination for an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2024. Download this photo: 
https://bit.ly/35t0jd3.

###