Last month Illinois Congressman, Dan Lipinski, awarded two St. Rita students, seniors Kevin Goosherst and Zach Maderak with Congressional nominations to the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy respectively. These two young men went through a rigorous application process in which over 500 local students applied with only 16 students in all of the state of Illinois receiving nominations. Kevin and Zach receiving nominations, while humbling, was not much of a surprise to the St. Rita community and its principal Brendan Conroy. “These two guys exemplify what it means to be a Ritaman,” Conroy stated. “What an absolute honor for Kevin and Zach to be recognized for their efforts. They are what St. Rita is all about and we could not be more proud of them than we are now.”
The application process for Goosherst and Maderak started over a year ago when they were juniors. They both wrote to their local congressman showing interest in joining an academy. After that they applied to the academy and then applied to Congressman Lipinski to receive a nomination (without a Congressional nomination, a student cannot be admitted into an academy). After they received their nomination last month they had to take the CPAT or Candidate Physical Assessment Test. The test involves a number of strength and agility tests with the results going straight to the academy they were nominated to. As for the next step, ”It’s a waiting game now,” states Goosherst. “Our part is done, now we just have to wait and see if they accept us into the academy.” While the Congressional nomination is a major step in the process, it does not guarantee them admittance in the academy of their choice.
Goosherst (St. John Fisher) who hopes to major in Biology and Pre-med has excelled in the classroom posting an impressive 4.85 GPA while participating in water polo, cross country, basketball, indoor and outdoor track, and swimming during his four years
at St. Rita. While Goosherst has excelled in athletics he has not forgotten the importance of getting involved in other areas of the school. “I spend most of my life here at St. Rita, but I love it,” Goosherst states. “I love everything I am involved in; I just wish I could be involved in more things.” Goosherst has his hands full as he is a current member of the theater club, chess club, Knights of Augustine, SADD, and the World Cultures Club. He believes his discipline to juggle his athletics, activities, and school work, will help him to adjust to a strict life in the Air Force. “My standing academically and my involvement helped me get my nomination. I believe the experience with both of those will help me thrive at the academy.”
Maderak, a standout on the athletic fields, will look to get into the field of mechanical engineering if appointed to the Navy. Zach boasts a 3.9 GPA and
is a current member of the National Honor Society and trains in martial arts outside of school. Besides football and rugby he has excelled in both indoor and outdoor track and also plans to be on the swimming team this year. His all-around excellence has allowed him to stand out but he believes it is other traits he carries that have helped him receive this nomination. “I feel I portray myself in a way that the Navy is looking for. St. Rita has taught me many things and I have taken those lessons and applied them to my everyday life and the way I act.”
Applying to these academies was not something that either Goosherst or Maderak just stumbled upon. It has been a desire of theirs for many years and Goosherst attributes it to a legacy that was left for him in the Air Force. “My great-grandfather flew planes for the Air Core before it was the Air Force in World War II. Then he became one of the first men appointed to the Air Force when it was established in 1947.” His military legacy did not stop there as he told the story of his uncle fighting in the Gulf War. “Both my great-grandfather and my uncle sacrificed for this country and fought for what it stands for. I hope to do the same.”
While Maderak does not have a long legacy in the military he had his eyes set on the Navy long ago for much different reasons. “The Navy teaches you about respect, about living your life the right way, that’s what I want. I like the strict schedule and the high expectations. I feel like I could thrive at a normal college but really leave a mark in the Navy.”
St. Rita has always said their goal is to bring in boys and turn them into men. The school has exceeded their goal with these two gentlemen. While this congressional nomination does not secure them a spot in the Air Force or Navy, both young men have pretty decent back up plans. If Goosherst does not get into the Air Force he hopes to attend Stanford and if the Navy doesn’t call on Maderak he plans to attend Marquette in the fall.