Schuylerville student accepted into three military academies


SCHUYLERVILLE — For four years, everything Claire Pelletier-Hoblock did was to get into the US Naval Academy.

Every class she took, extracurricular classes, and even her part-time job were all chosen in a well-documented effort to get that letter of acceptance.

“It was just my life, especially the last year and a half. Everything I did was because of that,” she said.

And since the academy has a 9% acceptance rate, she hedged her bets by applying to the other two military academies that involve sailing: the United States. Merchant Navy and Coastguard Academies.

Last week, all these efforts earned her the trifecta: she was accepted into all three schools.

She is the first student from Schuylerville High School to enter a military academy, let alone three. She will have to get used to it, she says: only 28% of Naval Academy students are women.

She hoped for the Naval Academy partly because she wants to operate the biggest ships on the ocean. She plans to become a surface warfare officer, a naval career that leads to commanding ships as a captain.

“I really want to be on the water,” she said. “I have a dream to drive big ships.”

The dream was sparked by a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas when she was in eighth grade. She loved the ship so much that she would rather be on board than go on an excursion. She began to imagine what it would be like to command the cruise ship, and her mother noted that she could learn to do so in the navy.

She researched in ninth grade and figured out how to maximize her chances of getting in. She applied for and attended summer programs at the Navy and Coast Guard Academies to impress public servants with her work ethic.

One of the things that many prospective students stumble upon is the need for a nomination, usually from a member of Congress. So she started working for US Representative Elise Stefanik, her MP.

“I knew if I worked hard for her, she would be more likely to nominate me,” she said. “She noticed my hard work. So when I asked her for the nomination, she didn’t hesitate.

Meanwhile, Pelletier-Hoblock has found a new passion. Now she plans to major in political science.

“I had so much fun during the campaign,” she said.

Another failing point she focused on was the physical exam.

“A lot of women apply and (the academies) don’t accept them,” she said. “I’ve been working since January 2020. I got myself in the best shape of my life preparing for these.”

This will help him overcome his next obstacle: Plebe Summer.

She graduated from high school on June 24 and left for the Naval Academy on June 29. For the next six weeks, she has to return her phone and can only make one call.

“It’s going to be really tough. They definitely break you, but that’s what I always wanted,” she said.

She can’t wait to meet the other students because she doesn’t know anyone who is as motivated as she must have been during this years-long process.

“These students will become my family,” she said. “And we all went through the same process, so that helps.”

She’s been warned that she’ll need some internal motivation to get through the summer. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get on those big ships.

“I love being a leader,” she said. “My grandfather was in the Coast Guard. He was stationed in Cape May. We go there almost every summer and climb the same lighthouse it served in. It’s always the highlight of my summer.

This year, she won’t be able to go. But she already sees herself following in her footsteps, and that will be enough.


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