ELMHURST – Upon learning that he was accepted to the Naval Academy, West Point U.S. Military Academy and the Air Force Academy, Ryan Kenneally chose to become a Midshipmen in the fall.
It’s a rare feat that the Elmhurst resident has been working on since his early high school years at IC Catholic Prep.
Kenneally, 17, believes in hard work and has always been driven to succeed.
Getting into just one military academy is an achievement in itself, since it takes more than good grades and submitting an application. Applicants need to first receive an official nomination from their congressman, ace an interview with an officer at the school and have exceptional grades and civic achievements.
Kenneally will attend the Naval Academy in the fall, joining his brother, Jimmy Kenneally, who is finishing his sophomore year. He will join his brother and fellow IC Catholic Prep graduate Patrick Guinan as members of the 2018 CSFL champion Naval Academy Sprint Football program.
“My brother, Jimmy, has been a tremendous influence on me and is one of the main reasons I chose to attend the Naval Academy, but I’m also appreciative of the guidance and support I’ve received from my family, friends and teachers,” Kenneally said. “I’m extremely excited, and I know I’m going to be really, really challenged as a young man at the Naval Academy. However, I know that I can accomplish great things with the loyal support of my family and friends.”
“I know Ryan’s parents are very, very proud,” said Tom Schergen, president of IC Catholic Prep. “We’ll all enjoy following his career and seeing what great things he will do for our country.”
Kenneally recalls a time when his parents went above and beyond to support him in his pursuits when “they flew me out to West Point for a quick trip to tour the campus and upon my return to Illinois, they immediately drove me three hours down to Eastern Illinois University to participate in Boys State.”
Boys State is a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion.
Through his high school experiences at IC Catholic Prep, Kenneally discovered so much about himself as a student, three-sport athlete and member of numerous extracurricular activities and clubs, he said.
“IC Catholic Prep has given me so many opportunities to flourish as a person through rigorous academic preparation, chances to thrive in athletics, including three state championships in football, and to grow spiritually in my Catholic faith,” Kenneally said.
Kenneally said he wants to pursue a career in the Navy as an officer, and hopes to continue to grow personally and professionally in service to his country.
“Ryan continues to amaze and impress so many people, and earning three academy appointments is proof alone of how special of a young man he is,” Schergen said. “Like his classmates here at IC Catholic Prep, Ryan is an exceptional young person who embraces all that our school has to offer young men and women looking for a meaningful high school experience that prepares them for success in college and life.”
Kenneally has some advice for his peers.
“Get involved,” he said. “Do everything that you want to do and more. At IC Catholic Prep, you can be as active as you want and the teachers, staff and community will value you and your contributions. It is a safe and supportive environment to explore new things.”
Kenneally also applied to and was accepted to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.