Senior Spotlight: Graziel Hinola
March 27, 2019
Senior Graziel Hinola was accepted into the United States Naval Academy on February 13. After months of preparing and several stages of the application, this was a major relief for Hinola and the beginning of a new chapter of her life.
Hinola attended a summer seminar at the Naval Academy in 2018 where she experienced first-class academic, athletic, and professional training from midshipmen at the academy. This was a challenging week not only physically, but mentally as well. The seminar is meant to mirror life at the academy in order to give participants a feel for life as a student at the Naval Academy.
“I know it’s gonna be pretty rigorous,” Hinola said. “I’m not only going to have to be fit all the time, I’ll have to be mentally “there” too, and Ii’ll definitely have to stay on top of school work.”
Hinola started her application process around September of 2018. This process consisted of interviews, fitness tests, outstanding SAT/ACT scores, a congressional nomination, and much more. The acceptance rate for The Naval Academy is 8.5%, so even a well rounded student could have trouble getting accepted. This is a huge accomplishment for Hinola.
“I hadn’t looked into any military academy probably until last summer when I got an email about the summer seminar,” Hinola said. “I had an interest in the Naval Academy because I could go to Lamar, or UT or some other college, but I wanted to do something epic.”
She heard about The Naval Academy from her sister’s friend who was enrolled at the academy. She spent time researching the program and realized she could apply to be in the Medical Corps and attend medical school immediately after her college graduation if she got in. This was a great opportunity for Hinola because of her dual interest in the military and medical school.
“I knew I wanted to be a doctor for some time,” Hinola said. “So I thought if I can kill two birds with one stone and be a doctor in the military, then that’s what i wanted to do.”
During her future years at the Academy, Hinola will have many opportunities that are unique to military academies. She can join the parachute team if she is interested or even learn how to sail a boat. She can also continue her musical abilities with the saxophone and tryout for the jazz band. There’s even iconic sport rivalries to participate in throughout the year.
“The Academy takes the whole brigade to the Army versus Navy football games, that’s like a big deal over there,” Hinola said. “I love football season, so I’m gonna really enjoy that.”
She has put a lot of time and effort into the process of applying for the Naval Academy. This summer she’ll start basic training and then the semester starts this fall. Although her college experience will be drastically different from most of her peers, her dream of being in the military and attending medical school will be fulfilled. And just like she hoped it would be, it will be epic.
“I’m definitely looking forward to my transformation, like right now a lot of people tell me ‘Wow, i just can’t see you going into the military,’” Hinola said. “They can’t see the vision, but I can. I can’t wait to meet some people, suffer together, and then come out of it 10 times better than the people we started as.”