Prestigious appointment for KFHS student

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

King’s Fork High School’s Kristi Kilbourne is thrilled after being appointed to the United States Naval Academy. She is sitting beside a photo of her Navy veteran grandfather and wearing her Army brother’s dog tags.

A King’s Fork High School student has realized a dream after being appointed to the prestigious United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Attending the academy has been Kristi Kilbourne’s goal since visiting there with her mother, Jennifer Kilbourne, a couple of years ago. “I fell in love with it,” Kristi Kilbourne said.

A member of the class of 2016, she will report for Plebe Summer on June 28 and be indoctrinated in the rich traditions of the Navy and the academy.

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“That’s their form of boot camp,” Kilbourne said. “I’m expecting to get yelled at.”

She’s also expecting “a lot of different opportunities” and “to be led by people who have already been through the process. I’m expecting a lot of team building.”

She said her main motivation is to become a Navy officer.

Kilbourne’s father, Scott Kilbourne, is retired Navy, her grandfather also served in the Navy, and her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan in the Army.

“I love the traditions — my family is very traditional,” she said. “The whole morals and values that they (the academy) have are really near to my heart.”

She said she decided to apply once and for all after attending a weeklong seminar at the academy last summer. “That was my turning point,” she said.

Scott Kilbourne believes his daughter has what it takes. “I think I’m a type-A, but Kristi really is, and she realized she was going to need a 360-degree challenge,” he said, adding that he read the future in her smile after the summer seminar.

“When they led her out of assembly, when that little girl came up to me, her face was aglow,” he said.

At King’s Fork, Kristi Kilbourne captains the soccer team and the field hockey team. She is the president of her class and of the student council.

A need to help others as much as possible drives her achievements, she said.

“When I take on these leadership positions, I see that there’s some kind of struggling,” she added. “It’s really nice to see that people trust me enough to put me in leadership positions.”

Her brother Derek is returning from the Middle East to see Kilbourne graduate from high school on June 16.

“At the halfway point (of his deployment), the Army gave him a ticket to go anywhere in the world, and he’s coming home to see me graduate,” she said. “It’s really exciting that he’s coming home.”

She wears his dog tags around her neck.