East Rowan's Nick Adkins graduates from U.S. Naval Academy
By Steve Huffman
Nick Adkins said that in recent years he’s spoken to a handful of high school students who have expressed an interest in attending the U.S. Naval Academy.
And Adkins said he’s frank with those students, telling them that the academy is a wonderful place, but they’d better be darn sure that’s what they want before they enroll.
“It’s tough,” he said, speaking of the physical and academic requirements. “If you’re going to college to party, this is definitely not the right place for you.”
Adkins, 21, recently graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The son of Mike and Cindy Adkins, Nick is the only Rowan County student to graduate from a service academy this year.
He’s been accepted into flight school in Pensacola, Fla., where he’ll enroll next week. Adkins will spend two years in flight school, then spend another six years flying Navy aircraft.
In other words, the next eight years of his life are pretty well spoken for.
“I’d like to fly helicopters, but it’s whatever the Navy decides for me,” Adkins said.
He said that most of those who graduate from the Naval Academy are committed to the military for five years. But because of the length of flight school and the fact that the Navy will have millions of dollars invested in their training, the commitment for pilots is eight years.
Adkins said he’s looking forward to it.
“The Navy may wind up being my career,” he said. “But if not, at this point, I’ve got a lot of options.”
One of those options, he said, involves possibly returning to law school. Nick’s father is a Salisbury attorney. His mother teaches at East Rowan High School, from which Nick graduated in 2004.
Adkins said just about everything about the Naval Academy was taxing. He majored in political science and credited the academy with hiring “some of the best professors in the world.”
But he said there was nothing about the experience that was easy.
“It’s a challenging environment,” Adkins said. “The classes are definitely no breeze. And the physical training is demanding, too.”
Nick’s mother said her first visit to the Naval Academy was an eye-opening experience.
“You always hear about what’s wrong with our young people, but you walk on campus and take a look around at everything and everybody and say, ‘We’re going to be OK,’ ” she said.
Adkins played football at East Rowan and was a member of SADD and the National Honor Society. He graduated high school with a 4.4 grade point average.
The typical freshman class at the Naval Academy totals 1,400 students, but that represents only 10 percent of those who applied.
The value of a Naval Academy education is estimated at $250,000.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.