Rep. Jimmy Panetta speaks on the accomplishments of Nadia Manzano from Soledad High School.

SOLEDAD — Nadia Manzano from Soledad High School is among Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s 2023 nominations of local high school students to U.S. military academies.

Manzano and the six other nominated students will attend service academies in the fall as they take their first steps toward becoming officers in the U.S. military. Panetta hosted a reception for the nominees and their families on May 19.

“These nominees are some of the best and brightest students from our local high schools and can do anything and go anywhere after graduation, yet they have chosen to serve our country,” Panetta said.

Nadia Manzano

Manzano will attend the U.S. Naval Academy this fall. She was part of the Navy-centered Soledad High NJROTC for all four years of high school, serving in various roles that included platoon leader, supply officer, admin officer, battalion command master chief and battalion commanding officer. 

Manzano graduated with a 4.4 GPA and also received the Distinguished Cadet Award while in the NJROTC.

Joining Manzano at the Naval Academy will be Amiel Jarrel Bolado of Monterey High School and Noah Mayer of Carmel High School.

Rep. Panetta’s other 2023 nominees are: Isaac Garcia of Aptos High School (U.S. Military Academy, West Point); Henry Brown of Palma School, Tyler Keegan of Salinas High School and Riley Speidel of Carmel High School (U.S. Air Force Academy).

“It is an absolute honor to be able to nominate such talented young men and women to our nation’s military academies,” Panetta said. “Each of these nominees should give us great pride in our local schools, families and community and provide all of us with hope for the leadership in our armed services and the future of our country.”

Students hoping to be considered for the nation’s military academies must first obtain the nomination of their U.S. representative, their U.S. senator or the vice president. Then, they have to complete a written application and participate in an interview process with a panel of community leaders, active-duty service members and veterans.

The panel selects and then submits its recommendations for Panetta to decide on the nominations. 

This year’s students, all from the former 20th Congressional District in California, had to submit their applications last year, prior to the redistricting.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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