ELMHURST – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, nominated two area residents to attend the nation’s service academies Tuesday.
Ekaterin Gjonaj of Addison was nominated for one of two vacancies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and Paige N. Ramirez of Wood Dale was nominated for one vacancy at he U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Durbin also nominated young men and women to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.
Everyone who wishes to attend a service academy must secure a nomination from one of a few sources, including a U.S. senator. Prospective students at the service academies must apply for a nomination and demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and good moral character.
U.S. senators are allowed a maximum of five appointees at a given service academy at any time – except for the Merchant Marine Academy, which is based on a state quota. Senator Durbin is allowed to nominate 10 candidates for each vacancy and does so by selecting nominees for admission on a competitive basis. The service academies will each choose one nominee for each vacancy and offer him or her an appointment.
The nominees were chosen by Durbin’s Service Academy Selection Committee, a nonpartisan board that meets annually in December to review applicants.