Proud of this ‘swab’

Published 11:12 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

It’s always gratifying to hear about some young Suffolkian who has done something to set himself or herself apart after leaving town. Whether it’s in a career field, in the arts, in athletics, in the military or in college, those kinds of stories are the ones we and our readers tend to enjoy the most.

We were especially proud to read of the recent achievement of Sydney Johnson, a young man from Suffolk who spent the summer as a “swab,” the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s endearing term for new recruits taking part in the seven-week indoctrination period before they start classes their freshman year.

Johnson demonstrated exceptional qualities as a swab, with cadet summer leadership choosing him as the top performer who most embodied the training values taught to him since reporting-in day. During a ceremony in Mystic, Conn., in July, he was presented a class flag as his reward for the honor.

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His hard work, teamwork and leadership qualities had lifted him above the approximately 240 cadets in his class.

The Coast Guard Academy, the training grounds for future Coast Guard officers, is highly selective. It offers a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program with a full scholarship for each cadet. More than 2,000 applicants are evaluated each year; the entering class size is around 240 people, according to Coast Guard admissions.

Johnson is a 2014 graduate of Nansemond River High School. That school, along with the rest of the city that Johnson calls home, should be proud of the young man they sent away to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.