FRONTENAC — Waking up at 5:30 in the morning to a Navy SEAL screaming is not most people’s idea of a good time. Especially since the screaming is followed up by a long workout session, to the same program the SEALs use for themselves.
Certainly not something most students would want to spend the summer between their junior and senior years of high school copying with. Unless you’re Frontenac Senior Cale Franklin.
Franklin attended the United States Naval Academy’s summer program in Annapolis, Maryland this past June.
The program, which the Navy calls “Summer Seminar,” is a six day long immersive experience that allows possible recruits to check out the academy.
Franklin said the experience was a life altering one for him, setting him firmly on the path to serving in the military.
“I had confidence before I went to this program,” Franklin said. “Now I realize that confidence and character are linked a lot, and being in the Navy is really what I want to do.”
Franklin said he was pleased at how much the Navy stresses the importance of having good character.
“I knew it was important, but it wasn’t until I got there that I realized how much the academy stresses good morals and strong character,” Franklin said. “I was very impressed with that.
“It works with how I see my life someday.”
Franklin said he has kept in touch with other participants in the program and for some of them the experience had the opposite effect.
“I know a handful of people who decided that the military wasn’t for them, so it’s really good they do programs like this to allow them to see for themselves before jumping in,” he said. “For me it was definitely the complete opposite.”
Franklin was quick to point out that while the experience was a solo one he didn’t have to shoulder the burdens alone.
“The trip cost over $900 with the plane fare and everything,” Franklin said. “The Frontenac community was really supportive, and I’m very thankful to them.” According to Franklin the Frontenac City Council, Frontenac Rotary, Frontenac Fire Department, the Hite Family, and the Crawford County Commission all donated funds to help make his trip possible.
Franklin said his mother was excited and proud but still unsure about her son traveling by himself.
“My mom was nervous going into it because I had to fly alone,” he said. “But everything went fine, and other than that my parents were really supportive.”
Franklin said the trip not only gave him a clear desire to serve in the military but also helped him realize that mentally he could handle more than he realized.
“They really push you mentally at this program,” Franklin said. “I feel like a came back a lot more mentally tough and sure of the road in front of me.”
The Naval Academy is notoriously tough to get into.
With a small laugh, Franklin said if the Navy doesn’t work, “Well I like the Air Force too.”