Liberty grad trying to help midshipmen
For The Madera Tribune
Liberty graduate and Navy midshipman Quaid Copher talks at Liberty High School to students who are interested in attending the Naval Academy. Copher spent last week talking to potential midshipmen and help them through the process of applying to the academy.
Liberty High School graduate and U.S. Naval Academy sophomore Quaid Copher returned to the Central Valley last week to conduct a couple of informational classes about attending the Naval Academy.
“It’s not even to recruit,” he said. “It’s to get information to those who want to go and answer any question they have. There will be questions that you can’t find the answers online. You need the primary source to see what’s going on.”
Copher held informational meetings in Clovis and at Liberty High School.
“I showed a short presentation and told them my experience and answer questions I have about being a midshipman,” he said. “I walk them through what it’s going to look like going from high school to the academy.
“I talked to them and told them what the academy is like and what to expect. Then, I introduced them to Jeff Johnson. He can help them with the literal application.”
Johnson is an area representative for the Naval Academy and he lives in the area.
“He can help any high schooler with the application process. He can be their source to answer questions,” Copher said.
Johnson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions on the application process for the Naval Academy.
Although Copher had about 15 people attend his presentations, he is trying to get more kids interested in going to the Naval Academy.
“Statistically, the Central Valley doesn’t have a lot of kids that are interested in going to the academy,” he said. “The academy wanted people to come out and stimulate some interest. It’s big to have people all over the place represented.”
Basically, Copher says the U.S. Naval Academy is a four-year college. Their goal is to make students leaders as they get commissioned as officers.
Copher, who graduated from Liberty in 2021, wants to become a Navy pilot.
“That’s what I wanted to do going in,” he said. “Over the summer, I had a couple of trainings that solidified that interest. That’s the goal. In the past year, 90 percent of students got their first choice of what they wanted to do. The 10 percent that didn’t either put in for something that’s really hard to get.”
Copher’s best advice to high school students that are interested in the Naval Academy, and college in general, is to ask questions.
“I tell the kids to reach out to anyone that can answer a question,” he said. “If they can’t answer it, they can find someone who can. I give the kids my number and tell them to call me any time of the day. I will tell them what I’m doing at that point or answer questions. We want to get people to the Naval Academy that like it.”
Copher also points out that the biggest adjustment he had to make in college was his time management, and he advises any prospective college student to work on that skill, as well.
“In high school, for me, it was go-go-go with sports and then the occasional academics,” he said. “In college, you have to put a focus in academics. It took me a while to get those study skills I needed.”
He will admit that the Naval Academy is hard work, but it’s work that he knows will help in the long run. He says that Naval Academy wants you to fail because then you can learn how to preserver through that.
“The academy work is hard,” he said. “The purpose is you can’t grow without failure. You don’t go to the academy without failing at some point. The purpose is to build yourself as a leader in maturity and morality to overcome those failures to be successful.”
Although there is failure in the Academy, Copher said there is plenty of support to help lift one up.
“There is a ridiculous amount of academic support at the Academy,” he said. “There are people with doctorates coming in late at night to help midshipmen study. There are also group study programs. If one has a good grade in a class, they can host a study program for other midshipmen. There’s always help somewhere.”
One of the things that helped Copher adjust to Academy life are the relationships he built at Liberty High School, and in trying to find ways to better the school, including finding people for support.
“I was always in the vice-principal’s (Kandance Osborne’s) ear to talk to her about what I can do to improve Liberty,” he said. “That kind of taught me how to lean on others that can help me. That’s a big thing. It takes a special someone to do the academics at the Academy without any help. That’s what’s good about the Academy is someone is good at something. Everyone can help everyone else in some aspect.”
Copher says that when one feels the desire to attend a military academy, do the research of where you want to go to find out what you need to get into those academies.
“t’s a very competitive process,” he said. “It’s not a high acceptance rate. Do everything you can in high school with extra curricular, leadership, sports and volunteering to make yourself more competitive.”
He advises to take as many AP classes as you can, play sports, take leadership, volunteer and do things that will help the high school resume.
“The second you realize you want to go the academy or any other four-year school, take the ACTs, SATs, take AP classes, play sports to build yourself into an all-around person,” he said.
During Copher’s senior year, he was the rare athlete that, literally, played five sports at the same time. He ran cross country, played baseball, basketball and football all within three months of his senior year.
“I didn’t get the full experience of football because I always had other practices,” he said.
Copher enjoyed his freshman year at the academy. He had thoughts about playing for the Naval Academy’s baseball team, but decided to join the school’s club trap shooting team, which he enjoys.
After a year-plus at the academy, Copher knows he is doing what he can to grow as a person each and every day.
“I went in real nervous about the Academy wondering if I made the right decision,” he said. “I had other schools I was considering. I was nervous the first couple of days and started to meet people and immersing myself into what we’re doing there and the mission of being a leader and mature yourself to grow as a person. I love it. Every time I go to bed, I know I earned going to sleep. I know I made myself better in one aspect or another. I hope to help someone else do the same thing.”