Jan. 8, 2005 – The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has offered St. Croix Educational Complex student Luis Garcia a four-year scholarship.
Luis and his mother, Ana Foster, plan on traveling to the academy in New London, Conn., shortly for a familiarization tour. Luis attended the Coast Guard's Academy Introduction Mission program for a week in the summer of 2004.
Luis' Coast Guard mentor, Lt. Alvin Dalmida Jr., said the service academies happen to be five of the best "deals" in higher education. Books, tuition, room and board, medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years — and accepted students are paid a monthly paycheck as well. Acceptance into the Coast Guard Academy is very competitive and thus far Luis has done quite well, Dalmida said.
Recently, the Coast Guard has made a continuing contribution to the educational development of youth residing in the Virgin Islands and the mainland. This contribution involves a number of programs, including youth mentoring, tutoring, computer donations, and the annual application of college-bound high school seniors for financial scholarships.
Luis will not be the lone Virgin Islander on the academy campus grounds, since there are six more Virgin Islanders on campus. One of them, however, Cadet Karima Greenaway, in is her fourth year, which may make her the first V.I. woman to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy.
The Academy's Director of Admissions, Captain Susan Bibeau recently wrote that the students "Virgin Islanders" referred to the Academy are "wonderful individuals who bring a lot of character and heart to this institution."
Graduates receive a bachelor of science degree and a leadership position as a junior officer in the Coast Guard. There is a minimum service obligation of five years, but most academy graduates make the military their career. Graduates achieve a level of academic and personal excellence few others approach.
Founded in 1876, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has a tradition as one of the finest and most selective colleges in America. The smallest of the five federal service academies, the Coast Guard provides a four-year bachelor of science program with a full scholarship for each individual. Unlike the other federal service academies, however, there are no congressional appointments.
Editor's note: This article was provided to the Source by U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Alvin Dalmida Jr., a Virgin Islander.