Jessica Groen, 17, of Ripon has accepted her appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The April 27 signing comes with a place on the USAF Soccer Team after her nomination by Congressman Jeff Denham. She will report to the campus on June 29.
She’s going to be the second Ripon resident to be on the athletic field at the Colorado military academy. Groen is following in the footsteps of Jillian Jamero who graduated from Ripon High last year and has attended a year-long prep school for athletics that leads into the same 2021 class. Groeb said she hopes to become a pilot – helicopter or fixed wing.
Soon to be graduated from Modesto Christian High School, Groen recently attended a soccer camp at the academy where she received a tour of the facilities and the dorm rooms. She said she had been nominated to both the Air Force and Naval academies last August but hadn’t made a decision until last year’s spring break which direction she wanted to take for her education.
Prior to Modesto Christian, she attended Colony Oak Elementary School in Ripon for her eighth grade year. She was signed up by Peter Butler of Congressman Denham’s office in the Modesto Christian gymnasium recently while at her side was her high school soccer coach for her sophomore and junior years, Jason Harding, and her senior year soccer coach Chandler Hoogendoorn.
Groen’s grandfathers on both sides of her family served in the Marine Corps. John Anthony served in Vietnam as a radio man on her mom’s side and is very excited about her appointment. The grandfather on her Dad’s side is the late Rein Groen who was a military policeman aboard the U.S.S. Antietam having been a football quarterback at Ripon High School in 1941.. She is also the great niece of the late Nick Groen of Ripon.
Groen is going to be driven to the Colorado academy by her family for a little vacation time for all, either by the Grand Canyon or the Yellowstone route – she gets to choose the way to go.
She said the academy is a mix of men and women within her class with a surprising 38 percent of all students being women. An Air Force Ball is held on the campus each year and the students can attend with either another academy student or an escort from outside the Air Force, she noted.
Groen had been a part of the Ripon 4-H for the past 10 years, saying she is very thankful to have been part of the Swine Project under the leadership of the late Dave Luis, a Ripon firefighter.
“I was very thankful to be part of that group and got to meet people like our leader Dave. Raising pigs and having to feed and walk them every day was quite a memorable experience,” she said.
The size of the class of 2021 is expected to begin with some 1,200 students. Upon graduation students are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.