Waimea High School senior Kayla Ishida has been accepted into the U.S. National Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.
“It’s an experience I’m definitely looking forward to having,” the 17-year-old said. “Waimea helped create a person who would be able to get into the Coast Guard Academy.”
Ishida had doubts she would make it into the prestigious academy, but tried anyway.
“I kind of just applied and said ‘OK, if I get in, I get in,’” Ishida said.
When she received the call from the Coast Guard Academy in December, the Kalaheo resident was thrilled.
“I found that their values were my values as well,” Ishida said. “It’s something you wouldn’t get at any other college.”
Ranked among the nation’s top undergraduate colleges, USNCGA has a 16 percent acceptance rate and is noted as the oldest life-saving service in the world.
The daughter of Eric and Helga Ishida is set to leave June 29 to attend boot camp.
Ishida said she treasures her time with the Junior ROTC program as the battalion commander.
“For me personally the JROTC program has developed my confidence a lot,” she said. “I have a lot of friends in the program.”
Ishida also made her time at WHS worthwhile by becoming the president of the school’s National Honor Society, valedictorian and swim captain. Ishida is also one of three recipients of the Grove Farm Scholarship.
Ishida intends to major in marine environmental science and later serve in the Coast Guard for five years. If she wants to stay with the Coast Guard after her five-year term, she would like to become involved in marine protection missions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is another option later on.
“Science is really my passion,” she said.