Written by: Noah Bonner
Luke Termorshuizen, senior, has taken on many challenges throughout high school, usually passing them with flying colors. From making the all-district soccer team and being on state finalist cross country teams to earning a 33 on the ACT test, there isn’t much he hasn’t had success with.
Now, he awaits his biggest challenge yet.
Luke is in the process of applying to the Naval Academy and plans to enlist following his high school graduation in May, where he wishes to become a fighter pilot and aerospace engineer. In fact, he picked the Navy for this very reason.
“I specifically chose the Naval Academy because it gives me the greatest opportunity and feasibility for carrying out those goals and ambitions,” said Termorshuizen. “While at the Academy I hope to study aerospace engineering. Afterward, I hope to become an aviator for the Navy as a commissioned officer.”
Getting to this point has been a long time coming for him. “Since freshman year, my sights have been on the Naval Academy and since then nothing has changed,” he said.
His mother, SHS art teacher Melanie Termorshuizen, has supported him from the very beginning. And, as a faculty member at the high school, she’s been able to see his progression up-close.
“I am very proud of Luke and his decision to apply for the Naval Academy because of his selfless desire to use his academic gifts for our country,” she said. “I know the risks he faces for joining the military, but I also have a strong faith and take comfort knowing that Luke is in God’s hands in whatever he does.”
However, there’s still a long way to go before Luke becomes a first-generation Midshipman. Getting into the Naval Academy, or any of the service academies, is a long and complicated process, even for someone that has the academic and athletic accolades that Termorshuizen has. He outlined the process and talked about where he is currently.
“To get an appointment to the United States Naval Academy- or and military academy- is a three-part process,” said Luk. “First, you need to be physically apt, so a medical examination is required. Minor physical defects or health problems can affect eligibility, therefore this step tends to be the hardest. Second, you need a congressional nomination. Third, and finally, you need to complete the Academy’s application, which consists of several essays, standardized test scores, and a physical fitness test.”
Right now Luke is in the second phase, having just secured a letter of recommendation from one of Missouri’s two senators. Luke believes that the activities he’s been in involved in throughout high school have prepared him for a life of service. In addition to soccer and cross country, he’s on the track and field team as a long-distance runner and is involved in FCA and NHS.
“Extracurricular activities in high school prepare me for the Navy in many ways. The Navy requires physical fitness which I strengthen through sports, and they also require teamwork and leadership which are strengthened through the other clubs,” he said.
Melanie Termorshuizen agrees with this. She believes that being a multi-sport athlete has prepared him for this moment.
“For track and cross country, he has set goals. He reaches those goals, and makes new ones, and then pushes himself to reach the new ones,” she said. “He also does this without the motivation for medals. For example, he ran 26.2 miles the day before Thanksgiving to see how fast he could run a marathon. In the Navy, Luke will always be setting goals, and hopefully, attain them.”
As for his close friends and teammates like Liam Wolfe, Luke’s decision is no surprise. Getting to play with Luke for three years has allowed him to see just what type of leader he is.
“I think it’s an amazing decision for him and I support him all the way,” said Wolfe, junior. “He’s always led the team, always been someone I can go to if I had a question about the game. He was always able to help me learn and be better. He was a big part of our success (district champions) my sophomore year.”
Regardless of if he gets accepted into the Naval Academy or not, those around him believe he has a very successful life ahead of him. Through his four years at Smithville High School, he’s been able to create a lasting legacy, one that will be looked up to for years to come.
“He’s a great leader and the past three years with him have been great. I can’t wait to see what he can accomplish in the future,” said Wolfe.