Smooth Sailing for These Seniors

Jo Hoagland, Senior Staff Writer


Nels Waaraniemi:

Utilizing the military as a means of continuing education and building a connection with the heart of the United States is the goal of Senior Nels Waaraniemi as he plans to enter the U.S. Naval Academy next year.
Waaraniemi said, “I’ve always wanted a chance to serve our country because I am interested in politics and government. I want to do something to give back and to preserve our system of government and the way that our country’s built.”
Waaraniemi’s decision was influenced by his brother who served in the military as well. This not only influenced his choice to join the military, but specifically his choice to attend the Naval Academy.
“I was first told about all of the academies by my brother, who is in the marines. He kind of tipped the scales toward the Naval Academy so that kind of prejudiced my thinking from the beginning,” Waaraniemi said.
Planning to major in either political science or history at the Academy, Waaraniemi intends to continue on to law school. Waaraniemi acknowledges that both the rigorous schedule of the Academy and the significant amount of time away for home will be a nice challenge for him, and he is looking forward to his time in the service.


Mimi Schrader:

In her decision to enter the United States Naval Academy, Mimi is becoming the second Schrader sibling to serve in the armed forces. Her older brother was recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army through the ROTC program at St. John’s University. Senior Mimi Schrader said of her older brother, “All my life I’ve kind of looked up to him as a role model.”
Her decision was solidified when the Naval Academy started recruiting her for basketball. “I went to their basketball camp the summer after my sophomore year and I just fell in love with the Academy and everything it had to offer. The rest is history,” Schrader said.
While she is looking forward to meeting her new classmates who will come from all over the world, going to the Academy also brings the challenge of separating from her siblings.
Schrader has three sisters also attending the high school, and the two who are also seniors will be leaving Minnesota for college too.
“I think the longest I’ve been apart from my sisters is like three days, so that will be a very big change for us,” Schrader said. She will be entering the Academy as a Division 1 athlete and is considering a major in Ocean Engineering.


Ethan Wagner:

Following in the footsteps of his dad who served in the Navy, Senior Ethan Wagner will be attending the United States Naval Academy next year. Although it was his dad’s path that initially sparked the idea of attending a military academy, it was Wagner’s time at an Air Force Academy summer camp that enforced his decision.
“I really liked the way of life and the commitment that everyone showed there,” said Wagner.
In reference to attending a military academy, Wagner said, “It’s consistent with some of my long range goals because I can get a really quality engineering education, and what better way to use that education than to give back to the country and serve.”
Looking forward to his time after the Naval Academy, Wagner said he would enjoy being a submariner, although he is not yet certain this is what he will end up doing.
“I’ll be able to figure out more what I want to do once I’m there. For right now my plan is just to go into one of the engineering degrees and then see where everything falls into place after that.” Wagner said that he is looking forward to meeting all of his new classmates and getting through the plebe year, which is supposedly one of the toughest at the academy.