Soaring Into Next Year

Senior to Attend United States Air Force Academy


Standing in front of an F-16 fighting falcon, senior Tyler Clifton takes a tour of the U.S Air Force Academy in Colorado on April 28. He said that this tour was a part of his trip to Colorado Springs where he got to see the town and meet other incoming cadets. “This plane is one of the four in the ‘Terrazzo’ or courtyard of the campus,” Clifton said. “The tour was a lot of fun and made me sure of my choice in college.” (Photo Courtesy of Tyler Clifton)

Anna Pribyla, Guest Reporter

“Aim High… Fly-Fight-Win” is the motto of the US Air Force, and that is just what senior Tyler Clifton has done for the past four years, which led to his appointment to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. 

“After my dad and I had just finished watching a movie, I was checking my phone and it said I had an email from the Air Force Academy and that there was an update for my application,” Clifton said. “So I went upstairs to check it and it said I got in, so I ran downstairs and we had a fun celebration.”

According to Clifton, he  has always dreamed of going into the Air Force. His family helped inspire this dream, with both his dad and uncle being in the Air Force.

“When I was really little, my dad took me to this Air Force base and I got to see all the cool fighter jets and big planes,” Clifton said. “That is kind of where the dream started.”

The process of getting accepted into the academy is not easy and differs from the typical college experience. 

Senior Tyler Clifton will attend the United States Air Force Academy this fall. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Clifton)

“The application experience was a very long process because it’s not like a normal college application,” Clifton said. “I had to get interviewed by a whole bunch of people. There was also a physical aspect too. I had to take a physical fitness test to get in and that took a really long time.”

Clifton said he has been building towards his goal of going into the Air Force all throughout high school. Additionally,  he has been involved in the Rho Kappa National Honor society and the varsity baseball team.

“My whole baseball experience has been very memorable,” Clifton said. “This year, we went to the championship for the Corpus Christi tournament which was very cool. We got to play at the Whataburger field, which was a whole experience in itself, just walking out on that field.”

Clifton has been on the baseball team all four years of high school, which he said has brought him a great community. 

“All of our coaches have always preached the word called ‘Mudita,” which means celebrating your teammates accomplishments,” Clifton said. “I have always loved that concept because if another teammate does something good, we’re all up in arms celebrating.”

Right now, Clifton is working hard to prepare for his next chapter at the Air Force Academy. While at the academy, he will go through  many steps  to become an official member of the United States Air Force.

“I leave for the academy in June for basic training, which will be six weeks long,” Clifton said.  Then after that, I go right into classes and  from there, it’s just like any other university. I will be taking regular classes but there will also be the whole military aspect of it. So the first year, it is just focused on trying to adjust to military life and keep you balanced with school work and all that.”

Clifton has mixed emotions on leaving his hometown to move on to his next big adventure. 

“I am really excited to start working towards what I have been dreaming of doing my whole life,” Clifton said. “It’s bittersweet because I obviously wanted to do this but I also really just like this area too.”