Outstanding Niles senior has tough decision to make

Published 2:01 am Friday, January 9, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The sky is the limit for Niles High School senior Andrew Whitten, who has recently received a nomination for the United States Air Force Academy from Congressman Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Whitten is an outstanding student who has another great option awaiting him when he graduates. He was also accepted to attend the prestigious University of Michigan.
He has not yet made a final decision because both opportunities are so promising in different ways.
If he decides to attend the Air Force Academy, he may get to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying and he will be able to study aeronautical engineering.
If he decides on the University of Michigan, he will still have the option to study aeronautical engineering, but he will also be able to continue to study music.
He said attending the academy would be a 12-year commitment, with four years in the academy and eight years in the Air Force, five of which is active duty.
Whitten said the Air Force Academy, which is located in Colorado Springs, Colo., has a program in which you can visit the academy and shadow a cadet for a day.
This is something that Whitten has wanted for a long time. He first wrote Congressman Upton when he was a sophomore to tell him that he was interested.
Whitten, who grew up in Niles, is scheduled to be one of four valedictorians for the Class of 2004. His favorite subjects have always been science and math.
In addition to being a standout student, he is also a talented musician.
He is the drum captain for the Niles High School band and he plays violin in the South Bend Youth Symphony.
Whitten played soccer at Niles High School until his junior year when he became drum captain.
Whitten is currently taking a four credit class called Intro to Aviation at Andrew's University on Wednesday nights.
Last semester he took a ground school class at Andrew's that covered such topics as the physical aspects of airplanes, federal aviation regulations and aerodynamic principles.
His current class at Andrew's will allow him to try his hand at flying.
Whitten will use the rest of this school year to decide which school will be best for him.
Whatever Whitten's final decision may be, he seems destined for success.
In a press release Upton had this to say of his 2004 nominees, "Our entire community should be proud of their achievements. These exemplary young men and women represent the very best that Michigan has to offer and are among our nation's best and brightest future military leaders."