PACE — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was at Pace High School on Jan. 22 to present 14 students in Santa Rosa and Escambia County with congressional nominations to the armed forces.

The 14 students from schools across both counties were not informed what branches they were nominated to Gaetz said, only that they were receiving nominations. Gaetz added that these congressional nominations did not guarantee that students would be accepted into the program.

"From here my job is to be an advocate for these students," Gaetz said. "It's a very competitive process form here."

Gaetz said it was a privilege for him to get to present these nominations, especially during what he said was difficult times for the government.

"This is the best part of my job," he said. "It restores my faith in our country's future." 

Gaetz said those with aspirations of going into government or armed forces should always stay up on current events and stand up for their ideas.

The following students from Santa Rosa and Escambia counties received nominations:

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY

Connor Stibolt, Pensacola Christian Academy Clint Hinrichs, Pensacola High School Jeffrey Sutherland, Pensacola High School


UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY

Valerie Goodwin, Pace High School Zachary Walden, Gulf Breeze High School MacKenzie Schmidt, West Florida High School


UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY

Isaac Kelly, Pace High School Trevor Compton, Gulf Breeze High School Caroline Opager, Santa Rosa Christian School Luciana Combs, Navarre High School Westen Key, Milton High School Malcolm Rivers, Pensacola High School Allison McGaugh, Pensacola High School Noelle Matzinger, Pine Forest High School

 See pictures of the nominees on page B1.