By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
A Portales High School senior has received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, from which he could continue to the academy itself.
To get the appointment, Timothy Sando had to complete a lengthy Air Force Academy application process that included a medical exam, essays, teacher recommendation and a congressional representative’s nomination. The baseball and soccer player said he focused on education from a young age as well.
“I saw it as an opportunity to continue with education and also serve in the Air Force,” he said of his reasons for applying.
Sando, a National Honor Society member, said he’d been thinking about attending the academy since last year. He expects to report to the prep school July 14.
Lt. Col. Jeremy L. Martin, the local academy liaison officer who interviewed Sando during the application process, said the prep school provides physical fitness work, academics and military training for applicants who didn’t quite meet the cut off to go straight to the academy. After 10 months at the preparatory school, students could be selected to move to the Air Force Academy.
“Their chances are good if they do well at the prep school, but it’s not a guarantee,” Martin said.
Martin said he was impressed with Sando’s desire to serve his country and the Air Force, following in the footsteps of his father, Senior Master Sgt. Edwin Sando of Cannon Air Force Base.
“I was just very impressed with his motivation and his accomplishments,” Martin said.
Sando said he planned to pursue meteorology to become a weather forecaster for the Air Force and after his discharge.
“It’s just always been an interest in me, always something that amazed me,” he said.
At the prep school, he is looking forward to meeting people with the same opportunities he has and, he hopes, continuing to the Air Force Academy.
The rigorous academy curriculum isn’t stopping Sando.
“I think it’ll be a good challenge and hopefully I can make it through it and be a better person and focus on education and physical fitness that’s required of me while I’m there,” he said.
The prep school appointment equates to a $40,000 one-year scholarship, plus room, board and a monthly stipend.
“We are very excited and proud for Timothy to be given this opportunity to attend the Air Force Academy prep school,” said Sando’s mother, Leslie, in an e-mail. “Timothy has always wanted to study meteorology. We hope that the path he has chosen gives him that opportunity.”