News Columns & Blogs

Naval Academy appointment ticket to Bayshore senior's dreams

BRADENTON -- Olivia Trevorrow’s favorite self-images are at her fingertips or saved in her memory.

A photo of an F/A-18 Hornet roaring off a carrier deck.

A spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, at the Kennedy Space Center.

A visit to a nuclear submarine as a child.

“Being an astronaut or submariner has been my dream since I was 6,” said the Bayshore High School honors senior.

The ticket to potentially making those dreams reality was in Trevorrow’s hands -- a coveted appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Though the letter arrived before the holidays, she has remained low key about it.

“It took awhile to sink in,” Trevorrow said. “My parents were ecstatic.”

To put it mildly.

“Everybody was more emotional about it than Olivia was,” said her mother, Lorraine Kish. “This is what she has wanted for years.”

Her 17-year-old daughter is in exclusive company.

Annapolis receives more than 16,000 applicants annually, but only 1,200 win an appointment.

When Trevorrow reports for plebe summer June 30, she will be among 4,600 midshipmen, 22 percent of whom are women.

“When I went on that field trip to Kennedy, I knew Navy was the right path,” she said. “Initially I was interested in West Point, but I started thinking about long term career goals. Everything I wanted in a service academy Navy had -- opportunities in nuclear engineering and aviation. Historically more naval pilots (25) are astronauts more than any other branch.

“It was just better at the Naval Academy.”

Actually, Trevorrow had thought about other paths -- doctor, lawyer, actress, etc. -- but something Bayshore honors science teacher Robb Wilson said had a profound impact.

“He told me he became a teacher to influence the next generation of Americans,” she said. “So I decided on the armed forces to propel our country forward, influence our country in the magnitude I wanted to, technologically and leadershipwise.”

Wilson has taught for 12 years and Trevorrow is his second student to go onto a service academy.

There’s no question she has the right stuff.

“It makes my job worth doing to have students like her,” Wilson said. “She has the talent and ability to do the work and an unquenchable drive to be the best. She will not rest until she is the best at what she does. You can see it in everything she does -- the amount of academic work she’s done on top of athletics, as well.”

Trevorrow’s pedigree is impressive.

A National Honor Society member with 4.7 weighted GPA, she has been captain all four years for the Bayshore’s girls tennis team and plays No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.

There’s more:

n Trevorrow was a member of Girls State, the government leadership program sponsored by the American Legion.

n She is on Manatee County’s Academic Team which will compete at state in Orlando.

n She’s also in her second year taking physics and chemistry at State College of Florida.

Trevorrow is warming up for the heavy lifting at Annapolis.

It’s full speed ahead for her.

“The academic opportunities are just incredible -- oceanography, ocean engineering, aeronautical engineering, naval architecture,” Trevorrow said. “The hardest thing for me will be picking one out and sticking with it because I love everything there -- and the long term opportunities that will take me wherever I want to go.”

Including going from 0 to 165 mph in the blink of an eye one day as her Navy jet fighter is catapulted off a carrier deck.

“Nothing would surprise me,” Trevorrow’s mother said. “For Olivia it’s a perfect fit.”

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055.