HOWARD CITY — Megan Wolowicz was inspired to join the Navy after watching “Top Gun.”
Last month, the 2008 Tri County High School graduate followed in the footsteps of that movie’s larger-than-life characters by graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. In return for her bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering, she will now serve the Navy.
“Graduation was amazing,” said Wolowicz, who recently celebrated her 23rd birthday. “I was the last graduate for the class of 2012 and I was the only graduate. My family and friends traveled from Michigan and Kentucky to watch, along with friends from Annapolis and my boyfriend.”
The newly commissioned ensign spent her first year taking core classes and the next three years focusing on major courses. As part of her training, she spent a month on a Navy cruiser in San Diego, Calif., flew a Navy training jet and went underwater in a submarine.
“I had rewarding leadership experiences during my senior year by being a squad leader with 11 midshipmen to take care of and as an operations officer where I was in charge of the events that my company was involved with,” Wolowicz said. “For the most part, the academy lived up to my expectations. The officers and enlisted that are stationed at the Naval academy are the best and are outstanding mentors.”
After spending the holidays with her family, Wolowicz will be heading to San Diego this month where she will be stationed for three years on the U.S.S. New Orleans. When she is finished in San Diego, she plans to attend graduate school.
Wolowicz graduated as salutatorian of her class at Tri County High School in May 2008. She had been working on acceptance to Annapolis since her junior year and was notified of her Navy appointment via a personal telephone call from U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra. She had previously completed interviews with Hoekstra and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, both of whom nominated her for acceptance.
Wolowicz graduated from high school with a 4.09 grade point average. Several of her family members have served in the military, including her father and grandfather.
“We’re extremely proud of her,” said Wolowicz’s father David, speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, Ellen. “It’s her time.”
Wolowicz’s favorite Tri County teacher Randy Fisher and former high school principal Mark Simons both championed her goal of attending Annapolis. Wolowicz was shocked, along with many others in the Tri County community, when Fisher and Simons unexpectedly died within a few days of each other in 2010.
“My education at Tri County was essential to succeeding at the Naval academy,” Wolowicz said. “Mr. Fisher and Mr. Simons were wonderful supporters of me and my goals. They are missed by many from the class of 2008 from Tri County.”