Knox Hall, a 2017 Celina High School graduate and Midshipman in his 2nd year at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, was not due home for over a week, but he had secretly applied – and was ultimately selected out of over 1100 applicants – for a program called OPINFO which allows members of the upper three classes a few extra days of leave in exchange for appearances or outreach opportunities promoting the USNA. OurCelina sat down with Knox…..read about it here!
On the evening of November 16, 2018, Douglas and Julie Hall were surprised to see their son Knox walk through the doors of their Celina home. Knox, a Midshipman in his 2nd year at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, was not due home for over a week, but he had secretly applied – and was ultimately selected out of over 1100 applicants – for a program called OPINFO which allows members of the upper three classes a few extra days of leave in exchange for appearances or outreach opportunities promoting the USNA.
“I was absolutely excited to be able to come home for a few more days. Mom was very surprised,” said Knox.
Knox sat down with OurCelina on his leave to discuss the OPINFO program and his life for the last year and one-half at the USNA.
I asked him to start at the beginning. I knew the application process was lengthy, but I was about to find out just how difficult it is to even be considered. Candidates for admission generally must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a Member of Congress. Once received, the application goes to the district level, then committee. Once past the committee, a physical fitness test is given. I remember watching Knox on Bobcat Field during 2-a-days in Texas August so I doubt he had much trouble with this part. After the physical fitness assessments, there is a medical review. At this point, they begin to meticuliously comb through your grades, extra cirricular activities and leadership experience. If all of those things meet the qualifications, you are then interviewed by a representative of the Blue and Gold office. It is only after all this, you can be accepted. And accepted he was.
The first year you are considered a Plebe and that summer, you go through what most would call basic training, but is offically labeled Plebe Summer. In the fall, you have classes similar to a standard university, but with uniforms and regimented schedules starting at 5:15 a.m. Knox completed his Plebe year last year and returned as a Youngster, which is his current class.
Knox said adapting to the changes and not getting a lot of sleep were almost as tough as being away from family. But followed up by stating, “But this experience is incredible and this is where I belong…oh and it’s free.”
With just two more classes to complete after this year, Knox is looking forward to the future.
I asked Knox what he wanted to do once he completed the Academy and he was quick to answer, “I want to fly. To go to flight school in Pensacola.”
I have no doubt Knox will continue to make Celina proud as he continues his service at the USNA and beyond!