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Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor announces her 2022 nominations to U.S. military academies

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced that 21 students representing more than ten local high schools received nominations for admission into our nation’s military academies: Air Force (USAFA), Navy (USNA), Army (USMA) and Merchant Marine (USMMA).

“These talented student leaders are critical to the future of America. Their commitment to serving our country will make our patriotic Tampa Bay community proud,” said Castor.

“I am grateful for the service of my dedicated Nomination Committee that thoroughly reviews each application and meets with interested students,” Castor continued. “I know that this year’s nominees will represent Tampa Bay and America well in all that the future holds for them.”

Photos of the nominees can be found here.

Receiving a nomination to one of our nation’s military academies is an essential step towards receiving an appointment to the academies. Nominations are earned based upon each student’s interview with Castor’s Nomination Committee, their academic record, participation in extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership qualities. Because of the stringent application requirements, many students begin working on what it takes to apply as early as their first year of high school.

Based upon the process established by federal law, all U.S. military academies, except the Coast Guard Academy, require either a service-connected or Congressional nomination (from their Member of Congress, U.S. Senator or the Vice President of the United States). Parents and students interested in the nomination process can work with their school guidance counselors and find more information at Service Academy Nominations | U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (

Castor will announce official appointments at a later date after being notified of appointments by the academies. Today’s announcement is the conclusion of Castor’s 2022 competitive nomination process. The nominees who receive an appointment from a U.S. military academy will attend their respective academies in the 2023-2024 school year.

U.S. Rep. Castor granted her nomination to the following students for one or more of the U.S. military academies:

Joshua Willke, Cambridge Christian School – USMA

Kalesha Bowers, Wharton High School – USMA

Skyllar Erikson, Robinson High School – USMA + USAFA

Juan Figuera-Parra, Jesuit High School – USNA

Grayson Gallagher, Jesuit High School – USNA

Katherine Merrill, Academy of the Holy Names – USNA

Lea Visher, Brooks-DeBartolo High School – USNA + USAFA

Luke Hamilton, Plant High School – USNA + USAFA

Trace Benn, Jesuit High School – USNA

Agustin Barrido, Berkeley Prep – USNA + USAFA

Damien Uzonwanne, Berkeley Prep – USNA + USAFA

Austin White, Robinson High School – USNA + USAFA

Grace Houghton, Stuggart High School – USNA + USAFA

Grant Creedican, Jesuit High School – USNA

Elaiza Varela, Sickles High School – USNA + USAFA

Emma Stone, Freedom High School – USNA

Jean-Carlo Zapta, Home School – USAFA

Turner Ashby, Plant High School – USAFA

Oliver Hewitt-Qualls, Plant High School – USAFA

Reagan Wilson, Sickles High School – USAFA

Adrianna Cook, Ramstein High School; Falcon Foundation Prep School – USAFA