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Press Release

Castor Announces her 2023 Nominations to U.S. Military Academies

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced the 21 Tampa Bay area students who received a nomination for admission into our nation’s prestigious military academies: Air Force Academy (USAFA), Naval Academy (USNA), West Point (USMA) and the  Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). These outstanding student leaders hail from more than ten local high schools in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

“These talented student leaders are crucial to the future of America. Their interest in serving our country brings great pride to our patriotic Tampa Bay community,” said Castor. “I’m grateful for the service of my diligent Nomination Committee, which thoroughly reviews every application and interviews interested students. I am confident that this year's nominees will represent Tampa Bay and our nation well in all their future endeavors.”

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 2023 competitive nomination process. The nominees who receive an appointment from a U.S. military academy will attend their respective academies in the 2024-2025 school year.

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

Felix Fudge Jr., Shorecrest Preparatory School – USMA

Tayten Moore, Canterbury School of Florida – USMA

Aiden Smith, Northeast High School – USNA

Elyna Brackin, St. Petersburg High School – USMA

Gabe Long, Hillsborough High School – USMA 

Katherine Merrill, Academy of the Holy Names – USNA and USAFA

Logan Virgil, Robinson High School – USMA and USAFA

Jack Wittmer, Robinson High School – USAFA

Jake Prabhakaran, Jesuit High School – USNA and USMA

Isabel Salas, Academy of the Holy Names – USMA and USAFA

Jace Jreisat, Bayshore Christian Academy – USMA and USAFA

Rogan Kane, Plant High School – USAFA (not pictured)

Terry Weaver Jr., Jesuit High School – USMA and USAFA

Gavin Paglieri, Jesuit High School – USNA

Adrian Salazar, Steinbrenner High School - USNA

Cayleigh Reid, Berkeley Preparatory School – USNA and USAFA

Logan Kijanski, Plant High School – USAFA

Grayson Stone, St. Petersburg High School – USNA

Danielle Donis, Plant High School – USNA

Sean Murphy, Plant High School – USAFA

Ella Kirk, Stuggart High School – USMA (not pictured)