By Ben Shanahan
Special to the Sentinel-Tribune
Colton Keefe, a Bowling Green High School senior, will attend the United States Air Force Academy this fall.
Growing up, Keefe did not dream about being an Air Force pilot; the idea of him going to the academy actually came from a joke his dad made in high school.
“I realized towards the end of my junior year that high school is not going to go on forever. I am going to have to figure out what I need to do after. I remember my dad and I were working in the backyard, and we live by an airport. There was an airplane flying over, and my dad jokingly said, ‘Ooo, you could do that for a job or you could be a fighter pilot’ and we almost laughed it off. Then I thought maybe I can do this, and that is when I found out about the academy,” Keefe explained.
But the process of getting into the academy was not so easy.
“When we started looking into it, we did not realize how deep the process would go; we just knew from some experience from siblings applying to regular colleges how that process went, but then in May, we attended a meeting with Sen. Bob Latta, and we saw how big this process was. We had to start gathering references, writing essays, and filling out a big application, and then in December, I finally got word that I was in.”
Throughout that whole process of applying, Keefe was also finishing up his senior year. For the Bobcats, he played football and wrestled, which he says taught him valuable lessons that made him the person he is today.
“In high school, I wrestled and played football; those two sports, I think, really shaped me to get accepted to a place like the academy because they gave me the mental strength you need from both of those sports, especially wrestling. They also taught me leadership, such as how putting in a little extra work helps everyone else around.” Keefe said.
That leadership even followed Keefe off the wrestling mat and the football field to the coaching side of each sport, as he is a volunteer coach for the Junior Bobcat team and the Bibby Bobcat wrestling team.
“I loved coaching a lot. It is really cool because it is not about winning at that level, it is more about getting the kids excited about the sport. It is really fun watching them have a good time, and you know they will come back to play the sport even though some are dying out.”
But out of all the extracurricular activities he does, what he is most proud of is his performance in the classroom and earning a 33 on his ACT.
“The thing about my grades is that I earned them all, which is what makes me so proud of being accepted. The first time I took the ACT, I got a 31, which I cannot dog on, but I knew I could be better, so I went to summer classes for the ACT and retook it twice. It was a long process for the improvement, but I think it was worth it.”