Jodi Cull-Host of Los Alamos at the Naval Academy. Courtesy photo
Jacob Brown of Los Alamos at the Naval Academy. Courtesy photo
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
After walking across the stage, receiving a diploma, moving a tassel and then tossing that mortarboard up in the air, people may wonder what comes next?
There are a multitude of paths high school graduates can take. Two recent Los Alamos High School graduates, Jodi Cull-Host and Jacob Brown, chose to travel east and attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Cull-Host and Brown graduated from Los Alamos High School in 2012. In May, they will graduate from the Naval Academy. Afterward, Cull-Host heads to Pensacola, Fla. to attend flight school at the Naval Air Station and Brown goes to the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
Their experience in the military reaches all the way back to high school when both were involved in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC).
Looking back on his time in the NJROTC, Brown said Gunny Sergeant Brent Painter was a big influence on him. “It’s a good program,” he said. Brown pointed out the program introduced them to leadership and responsibility at a young age.
Cull-Host added Lt. Commander Wes Schumaker was another strong influence. The NJROTC, she said, “introduced us to the military lifestyle and military organization.”
NJROTC provided them with tools to be successful and Cull-Host said, they are “grabbing them and running with them.”
This is evident in the work the two midshipmen are doing at the Naval Academy. Brown serves as a brigade drill officer who handles formal parades, “making sure they go smoothly.” The experience, he said, taught him how to work with people and develop people skills.
Meanwhile, Cull-Host works at the academy’s dormitory, Bancroft Hall, where she handles scheduling maintenance for the hall.
Cull-Host said she also has developed people skills. “(I’m) learning to work with officers in the fleet…just (gaining) the confidence with talking to people in officer-level positions,” she said.
It’s an experience they both encourage others to pursue. Brown pointed out there is no tuition and midshipman receive a salary. Students are required to serve five years in the military. “The teachers are very smart and highly qualified,” he added.
Still, Brown and Cull-Host said they both enjoy returning to Los Alamos. Brown commented, he misses his family and “I like coming home.”
Cull-Host added, “New Mexico is so beautiful.” The trails, the close-knit community can not be beat, she said.
Jacob Brown of Los Alamos with his girlfriend Samantha at the Naval Academy. Courtesy photo
Jodi Cull-Host, center, of Los Alamos with her frineds at the Naval Academy. Courtesy photo