Anna Shevchuk (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)
Anna Shevchuk (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)

Next fall, Anna Shevchuk, who graduates this month from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, will attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Acceptance to the academy is indeed an honor, as the academy accepts less than 10 percent of those who apply. Each year, more than 16,000 people apply, with less than 1,200 accepted.

At the Naval Academy, Shevchuk said she plans to study “something in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field because I am definitely into engineering.” Her decision to enter the academy, she said, was inspired by her own father, a military man who served in the U.S. Navy. The daughter of Ben and Cheryl Shevchuk, Anna has one brother, Andrew.

Attending the academy, she said, appealed to her because “I have always been interested in the military. I love uniforms. I am a big fan of structure.”

Of her parents’ reaction to her entering military service, Shevchuk noted that “my dad is pretty proud. My mom is a little nervous, but also really proud.”

As part of a military family, Shevchuk has lived in Washington State, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Germany and Italy. “This (Southern Maryland) is the longest place I’ve ever lived. I love it here,” she said.

At Ryken, Shevchuk founded the Future Medical Professionals Club. “I started the club when I was taking AP biology and there was no medically oriented club,” she explained.

With a hospital about five miles away from the school campus, Shevchuk had a ready source to “bring in speakers to talk about medial subjects. There are about 25 members in the club.”

Ironically, after founding the club – which Shevchuk said “helped me learn more about the (medical) profession” – she decided against a career in medicine and instead decided to pursue a career in engineering.

Although she is not Catholic and attended public schools until entering Ryken, Shevchuk said “I love the atmosphere here, and the ideals the school promotes are helpful to everyone.”

“I do not feel singled out because I am not Catholic,” she added. “Here, religion is not forced on you, but is taught in a way that makes people interested in it.”

Shevchuk has been on the president’s list every quarter she has been at the school and will graduate with a 4.6 grade point average. Her advanced placement classes account for why her average is higher than a 4.0

“Taking AP classes helped me figure out what I am capable of,” she said. “At Ryken, if you are a hard worker, they will put you on the path to success. I am looking forward to the same thing with the Navy.”