Grant Vigneault accepted into Naval Academy

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Grant Vigneault accepted into Naval AcademyOut of the millions of American students on track to commence out of high school this spring, just more than 1,100 will follow up with a collegiate-level education at the U.S. Naval Academy. Among that exclusive few is Burroughs High School Senior Grant Vigneault.

“Appointments to an academy are not something that happen frequently,” said BHS Principal Bryan Auld. Although this is the second year in a row a Burroughs grad has had the distinction of acceptance into an academy, Auld noted that the occurrence is typically far more rare.

“The process is too competitive, and the pool of applicants is too deep for any one school to earn frequent appointments. Grant’s appointment to his first choice, the naval academy, is an indication that he is one of the top students of the Class of 2018 and in the entire 23rd Congressional District.”

Political favor is just one pillar in the rigorous process to gain admission. Grant went through a separate application and interview process with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s panel in order to earn the necessary endorsement.

McCarthy announced last month that Grant was his top recommendation for the Naval Academy.

“I am proud to nominate students from my district who display the core values of honor and courage in their commitment to serve our country,” said McCarthy, who also commended Grant on his pursuit to become a future leader in the armed forces.

“There are many reasons Grant stands out,” said Auld. “It is not that he is exceptionally strong in one area; he is extremely strong in most areas. The committee, we are told, is looking for leaders who excel physically and academically and who possess exceptional citizenship.

“The fact that the committee selected Grant is confirmation that those things are what they value most because they selected a perfect example of someone who excels in each of these areas.”

“I have worked with many students over the years, and the academies — the naval academy especially — are the most competitive schools in the country to get into. You have to excel academically, physically, emotionally,” said David Vigneault, a guidance counselor at Burroughs and Grant’s father.

“An academy education has been a dream of mine since before high school,” said Grant, who is also the son of Kyla Vignealt.

“It’s something I have geared all aspects of my teenage life toward — whether it be academically, athletically or morally.”

At BHS Grant has made the Honor Role for seven consecutive semesters and serves as president of the local chapter of California Scholarship Federation. He has been on the varsity baseball team for three years and assists in managing the varsity football program with its film production.

For the last 18 months he has served as an intern with the test and evaluation squadron at VX-31, where he assists in the research and development of various software platforms on the Growler — the Navy’s aerial jamming platform.

To gain admission, Grant was required to demonstrate in his application these commitments and achievements, as well as write an essay, provide letters of recommendation and be interviewed by naval officers. He also passed the physical test that all military academies use to gauge fitness.

But he identifies as his most gratifying achievements the friendships he has built along the way.

“Personally, I am a true believer in creating long-lasting relationships that I can and will enjoy many years down the road. Over the course of the last four years, I have made so many new friends — not only in school but all throughout the community — that I cherish more than anything else.

“Those friendships may not seem like a major ordeal for many others, but those are without a doubt my proudest accomplishment in my entire life.”

Grant said that with his admission into the USNA, his passion has shifted to his eventual service in the Navy or the Marines — in whatever capacity the military sees fit.

“Although where I will serve in the Navy is most often dictated by the service’s need, I would love to pursue an aviation career in either of the branches,” he said.

“Grant will graduate from the academy with recognition and successfully pursue a career as a Navy officer and aviator,” predicted Auld. “I envision Grant eventually becoming a commanding officer of a Navy installation. His leadership skills will serve him, the Navy and the community very well in that capacity.”

“I need to thank all who helped me reach this milestone,” said Grant.

“It would not have been possible without all of the help I have received from mentors and friends all across the valley. Their assistance means so much more to me than I can put into worlds — it is because of them and their belief in me that I will soon get to live out my wildest dreams.”

Story First Published: 2018-01-05