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Cibola High School senior receives multiple military nominations

News 11 reporter Melissa Zaremba met up with the high schooler to get the latest on his plans after high school

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY-TV) - A local high school senior Gabriel McCallen received not one but multiple military nominations.

After many years of studying, applying and preparing—hard work pays off.

Gabe applied to four military academies hoping to get just one nomination and ended up getting all four.

“To see it come from multiple people to multiple places it’s really reassuring to me that I’ve been doing the right thing and that they also believe in me and my goals to serve our country,” Cibola’s high school senior Gabriel McCallen said.

Gabe always had a dream to join a military branch but still wanted to balance his passion for swimming too.

“I always wanted to be, at first it was part of the army and I wanted to follow my dad and be in the army but then I joined the swim team and said swimming is kind of fun, so why not go with the Navy or the Coast Guard,” said McCallen.

The Coast Guard accepts about 300 hundred applicants per year which is about a 13% acceptance rate so Gabe’s nominations are a huge accomplishment.

“I mean it’s amazing when Gabe was 7 or 8 he has wanted to go to an academy so his whole life and every choice he has made whether it be what high school he would go to, what sports he’s going to join, what clubs he's going to join, what services in the community he's going to do, what leadership skills he’s going to obtain everything has been what’s going to help me get into an academy,” said Gabe’s mom Theresa McCallen.

Gabe says he’s thankful for all the support he’s had to get him to this point.

“He’s the student that educators always dream of having he self-advocates, he’s a great kid, I mean not just academically, but he also excels in the swimming pool, he’s a leader and I know service academy’s always look for the whole package and that’s what he is he’s the whole package,” said Gabe’s high school counselor Teresa Davis.

Gabe’s mom Theresa says he always took the extra mile to meet his goals he was even awarded swimmer of the year making her even more proud.

“I couldn’t have ever asked for a better son and I could never ask for any greater achievements and you know it’s one thing I always tell him it’s not about what you’ve accomplished but it’s really about the person you are and more than anything I’m just proud of his character and the man he is today,” said Gabe’s mom.

Gabe is still deciding which military academy he will choose.

Even though he's still deciding on which military academy he will join he says he is leaning towards the Coast Guard.

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Melissa Zaremba

Melissa Zaremba joined KYMA in November 2021 and is the Chief Weather Forecaster.

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