Most high school seniors plan to spread their wings after graduation, but one Meridian student will soar to new heights at the United States Air Force Academy.
Grant Walker, a senior at Stillwater High School and a Pre-Engineering student at Meridian Technology Center, was accepted to both the Air Force Academy and West Point. He has decided to call the Air Force Academy home for the next four years.
After a family vacation in Colorado and a tour of the campus while he was in middle school, Walker felt like the Air Force Academy was the place he belonged. He set the goal of returning there again one day, next time as a cadet.
“Applying to the Air Force Academy and West Point motivated me to challenge myself,” Walker said. “So many people recommended that I come to Meridian to push myself academically. It has pushed me, but the teachers and friendships I’ve made have helped me through.”
Walker’s love of engineering started with Legos and putting things together. At Meridian, he was able to do this on a larger scale.
“I’ve been able to dabble in different fields and create things with the VEX robotics parts,” Walker said. “I think just being able to work in everything has made me enjoy and want to go into mechanical engineering.”
Leadership plays an important role in the military and makes applicants stand out. Walker is a leader in his school. He is vice president of his school’s student council and president of the National Honor Society. In the classroom, Walker pushes himself to succeed and try new things.
While applying to college can be difficult under normal circumstances, applying to the Air Force Academy and West Point can be an even lengthier process. Walker had to not only complete the application, but he had to undergo a physical examination and seek the nomination of a congressman.
Walker reached out to three Oklahoma congressmen and ultimately received the nominations from Senator Jim Inhofe and Representative Frank Lucas. The congressmen are limited in the number of nominations they can make.
Raising the Bar at Tech
Knowing the Air Force Academy sets the bar high for their cadets, Walker knew he needed to set himself apart. That’s why he applied to Meridian’s STEM Academy.
“The rigor at Meridian has been great,” Walker said. “The Air Force Academy says cadets should challenge themselves. That’s something Meridian has offered me.”
The STEM Academy at Meridian teaches students science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles using Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. PLTW is a national program that provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers across the country. It focuses on developing problem-solving skills by immersing students in real-world preparatory-level academics.
“Our coursework focuses on developing transferable skills,” said STEM Academy instructor Debbie Short. “Students learn critical and creative thinking as well as collaboration and communication. Our students find success no matter their future career pathway.”
The instructors in Meridian’s STEM Academy are excited for Walker and provided their support during the application process.
“Grant is the type of student that teachers truly enjoy having in class,” Short said. “He is not only self-driven to succeed but also is quite willing to ask questions when he is trying to understand tough concepts.”
After his graduation in May 2023, Walker heads to basic training at the Air Force Academy and begins school in the fall. For incoming Meridian students Walker advises, “Come to push yourself. It’s not a typical high school experience, but it is a great way to prepare you for college and to prepare you for life.”
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
For more information or to enroll visit www.meridiantech.edu or contact a career counselor by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.