PACE — Top students from several local schools attended the nomination ceremony to U.S. military academies that took place recently at Pace High School.


Rep. Matt Gaetz attended the Friday ceremony and announced the nominees.


“There’s always something very impressive going on at Pace High School,” Gaetz said telling the attendees that the last time he was there students were flying drones.


Gaetz specifically thanked Principal Stephen Shell and staff for the great contribution they make for the community.


“This is my favorite day of the year and my favorite job as a member of the U.S. Congress,” Gaetz said. “It is the best perk of being in Congress to have the opportunity to nominate some of Northwest Florida’s best young Americans, most patriotic Americans, to have the opportunity to seek appointment to serve in America’s military academies.”


The nominations represent another step closer to these students to fulfill their dreams of studying at a military academy and serving their county.


The nominees still have more testing and interviewing to complete before an appointment. Some students received multiple nominations.


Pace senior Mia Goodwin received nominations from West Point and the Air Force Academy.


“I would like to go to the Air Force Academy,” Goodwin said.


However, she will go wherever the military needs her. She wants to study mechanical engineering.


Another Pace student, Sofie Discepolo, received nominations from West Point and the Naval Academy.


“I want to study something chemistry based,” Discepolo said.


A third student from Pace, Gabriel Hagon, received nominations from the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy.


Gaetz told the audience that the selection committee was “very impressed” with Hagon’s submission package, especially in his leadership abilities.


“I would like to go to the Air Force Academy,” he said. “I want to fly jets.”


Hagon wants to study computer or electrical engineering.


Here are the students nominated at the Pace High School ceremony. Some students were nominated for multiple institutions and show up under different academies.


UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY


Mia Goodwin, Pace High School


Gabriel Hagon, Pace High School


Brandon Anderson, Pensacola High School


Matthew Hoffman, University of Alabama and Marion Military Institute


UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY (WEST POINT)


Mia Goodwin, Pace High School


Keaton Brown, Northview High School


Manas Pandey, Booker T. Washington High School


Matthew Juntunen, Home School


Preston Randolph, Milton High School


Matthew Hoffman, University of Alabama and Marion Military Institute


Sofie Discepolo, Pace High School


UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY


Keaton Brown, Northview High School


Preston Randolph, Milton High School


Gabriel Hagon, Pace High School


Dillon Conti, Pensacola State College and University of Florida Online


Sofie Discepolo, Pace High School


UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY


Gabriel Hagon, Pace High School


Alex Goodwin, Milton High School


Manas Pandey, Booker T. Washington High School


Thomas Frosch, Pensacola Catholic High School