U.S. Navy Ensign Kaitlin J. Baker, daughter of Jim and Louise Baker, graduated with honors from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. on May 28, 2010, and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Ensign Baker successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical and professional training, resulting in a bachelor of science degree with a major in systems engineering. While at the academy, Baker earned her varsity letter, an N Star, in cross country, served as a 2nd Regimental Commander her senior year, was awarded the class of 1897 sword for outstanding leadership of the 2nd Regiment, and was one of 25 midshipmen from the class of 2010 awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Distinguished Midshipmen Graduate Award for having met the highest standards of leadership, academic excellence, and military performance. Following graduation, Ensign Baker has been assigned to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (EOD), where she will continue training in Panama City, Fla. for dive school, Explosive Ordnance School at Eglin Air Force Base, Destin, Fla., and then proceed to an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit where she will begin her service. Considered one of the top educational institutions in the country, the U.S. Naval Academy was founded in 1845 and has graduated more than 60,000 men and women as Naval and Marine Corps officers. Its graduates include 4,000 admirals and generals, one president, 200 members of Congress, three governors, 73 Medal of Honor winners, one Nobel Prize winner, and 40 astronauts. The Naval Academy currently has more than 4,000 students who comprise the Brigade of Midshipmen and who come from every state in the union. Ensign Baker is a 2006 graduate of Rockford High School.
Rockford High School graduate
Smith graduates from USMC Jennifer L. Smith, a 2007 graduate of Rockford High School, has graduated from the United States Marine Corps boot camp on April 23 after 13 weeks on Parris Island, N.C. Private Smith had a 10-day leave, which she spent at home in Belmont with friends and family. She left on Monday, May 3 for Camp Lejeune, N.C. for School of Infantry (SOI) training for four weeks. From there, she will be assigned to her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), where Pvt. Smith plans on pursuing legal administration or aviation.
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY They say that it’s good to try different things. In Stacey Kowalczyk’s case, she didn’t think that would include drunken shrimp and cow’s intestine for dinner. The 2007 graduate of Rockford High School always wanted to study abroad. So when a trip to China presented itself, Kowalczyk jumped at the opportunity. Never mind that she didn’t know the first thing about the language; she was ready to go. Kowalczyk, currently in her Junior year at Grand Valley State University, traveled to China with two Professors and eight other Grand Valley students from May 5 through June 14, 2009. “I took one class on how to speak Chinese, but I’m not very good at it,” Kowalczyk said with a smile. For the most part, Professors Peimin Ni and Geling Shang interpreted the language for them. That came in handy when they were served a dish called Drunken Shrimp. Kowalczyk’s professors explained to them that the chef would literally soak the shrimp in liquor, and serve them alive to the diners. “My professor would prepare the shrimp for us, and then hold them out to us and say, “Here, eat this.” Kowalczyk wasn’t too crazy about the drunken shrimp, but said at a breakfast buffet they were served cow intestine. “It wasn’t that bad, it tasted like noodles. It was grosser to look at, than eating it,” she said. The students did, however, get an opportunity to visit an Italian eatery. “We were pretty psyched to get a fork.” Kowalczyk explained. “We had to get used to chopsticks real fast,” since other eating utensils were nowhere to be found. The group stayed in Shanghai, but took side trips to Beijing, and Hainan, (sometimes called the “Hawaii of China”), which was on the South China Sea. “The scenery was beautiful,” Kowalczyk said. The most memorable site for Kowalczyk was the Great Wall of China. Kowalczyk explained that they were very fortunate to have their professors, who knew their way around China and its sites. “We were able to visit parts of the Great Wall that most tourists don’t get a chance to see. They took us to parts that were crumbling and overgrown with vines,” she said. “It was magnificent.” While the students were […]
Travis gives four years to Navy, 12.5 inches to Locks of Love While many high school graduates prepare to leave for college in the next few weeks, one Rockford resident is taking a different direction. Jayme Travis, a 2009 graduate of Rockford High School, departed August 18 for the Navy. She will attend boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., for eight weeks, followed by five weeks of specialized training in Pensacola, Fla. After her 13 weeks of intense training, “All I know is I will be stationed on an aircraft carrier,” said Travis. “The ‘where’ and ‘for how long’ is unknown.” The Navy requires all enlisted females at all times to have off-the-shoulder-length hair or shorter. Travis donated 12.5 inches of shiny, strawberry-blonde hair to Locks of Love.
Alma College has named over 400 students to the Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance during the 2009 winter term. Students who achieve a 3.5 or better grade-point average during a term, while carrying a minimum of 13 credits, at least eight of which are evaluative grades, are named to the Dean’s List. Local students named to Alma’s Dean’s List are freshman Eric Borgeld of Belmont, senior Daniel Laatz of Cedar Springs, junior Jeffrey Laatz of Cedar Springs, freshman Nicole Bursach of Greenville, sophomore Adam Ellsworth of Greenville, senior Linnae Caurdy of Rockford, junior Ahna Danyluk of Rockford, and senior Ryan DeHaan of Rockford. Monica MacDonald, a 2008 Rockford High School graduate, has been named to the Dean’s Honor List of the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (MSU) for the spring semester of 2009. MSU’s requirements are that the student must achieve a minimum of a 3.5 grade-point average. MacDonald’s accomplishment reflects the dedication and hard work she brings to her academic career. She will be starting her junior year at MSU this fall.