For this installment of the Alumni Spotlight, we caught up with Democracy Prep Charter High alumnus, Michael Cummings, who just started his third year at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. When we learned that he spent his summer in San Diego, exploring different military specialties (including flying a plane!) we wanted to hear more about his adventures.
Democracy Prep: So, we heard you spent four weeks trying out a variety of activities in several military specialties.
Michael Cummings: Yes! It was basically an introduction to the main communities that you can go into after graduation from the academy.The whole purpose is to get to know the communities to see if you like it or don’t. You get to know the advantages and disadvantages.
DP: What did you do in week one?
MC: For me, the first week was aviation week. We went up with a pilot, and then we got to take some time and actually fly the plane. I’ve been up in the planes before, but it is totally different when you are in the cockpit and you are actually in control of the plane. And it’s not like when you are in a plane 60, 80, or another 100 people. It’s just you and one other person.
We flew up and from where we were in altitude, I could see Mexico. It was really amazing when you get the stick in your hand, and you let go a little bit, and the plane starts to dip. It was a little scary at first, but way more exciting.
DP: Wow! How did you follow that experience up in the second week?
MC: The second week was submarines. You spend one night on a submarine to feel the experience. Every community is different, and has people built for that kind of thing, but for me, the submarines weren’t as fun. It was a good experience, but the boat rocks, you can’t tell which way is North or South and you can’t tell when it’s day or when it’s night. The height was also a little challenging for me. I had to bend down a lot. I’m 6’2!
DP: So, once you returned from the depths of the sea, what did you get into next?
MC: Next was Marine Corps week. That was a lot of fun for me! There was a lot of running, obstacle courses, and we learned how to rappel. First we learned the basics and rappelled from a tower. Then we learned how to rappel from a helicopter. It’s a similar experience but a lot more noise. Week four was surface week. So they showed you all of the ships. So we saw the combat ships versus the cargo ships.
DP: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!
MC: Thank you! I try to go back to DP every chance I get to show people, that you know, I’m not that special, or perfect, and that anyone can do what I do. You just have to work at it.