Chaparral student appointed to 3 military academies

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 02/03/16.

PARKER - When Kelly Grier was 10 years old, she was in a swim meet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. That's when she saw something that would shape her future.

"I watched the cadets do their march back from basic training and I knew right then that's what I wanted to do," Grier said.


Grier is a senior at Chaparral High School in Parker now. But, she has focused her energy on building a school career to hopefully draw the interest of one of the military academies.

"Growing up knowing Kelly, she's always been very smart, very organized and driven," Heather Miyazawa, friend and senior at Chaparral, said. 

This past year, Grier sought a nomination from Congressman Ken Buck to the Air Force Academy. He nominated her to West Point, Air Force, and the Naval Academy.

Grier's student government adviser, Kathy Gappinger, says she can see why.

"I have 43 of the best of the best students and then you have Kelly in there and she is at the top of that," Gappinger said.

Grier completed the comprehensive application process and was interviewed at all three schools. She even attended camps where she experienced life as a cadet.

"She said that she kinda had a little smirk sometimes when they're yelling at her," Gappinger said. "I was like, oh my God, that's perfect for her. She loves it. She can truly handle that."

 On her way to practice for her swim team on Dec. 17, Grier says got the call that she was accepted into all three academies.

"I was so happy. I had to call my parents right away," Grier said.

Miyazawa says it is amazing and not surprising at the same time.

"She overachieves in everything which is awesome. Kelly's like that you want to be," Miyazawa said.

Gappinger says she's proud to have taught Grier.

"You think of like every graduating class and they're maybe just a couple, a handful that even go into one of the academies," Gappinger said. "Got into all three -- that's insane."

Grier believes her grades and extra-curricular activities made her stand out.

"I've never gotten a B and I have a 4.2 GPA,"Grier said. "I'm student body treasurer. I'm president of National Honor Society, president of Chinese National Honor Society, president of Link Crew. I work with special needs kids."

Classmate Blake Giles can't believe Grier can juggle all that.

"She's busy and everything, but she finds time to help out others," Giles said. "She's kind of the reason I've been successful this year. She tutors me in like every class."

Grier says picking between the three academies was difficult.

"For a while, I didn't know which one I wanted to go to," Grier said.

But, in the end she says distance and her chance to be on the school's swim team swayed her decision.

"I decided to go to the Air Force Academy," Grier said.

She plans on making the Air Force her career. Grier wants to major in computer sciences after learning about the growing issue of cyber warfare.

"It doesn't surprise me that she sat in an interview, blew everyone away, because she's so well-rounded with her love and passion for the leadership," Gappinger said.

(© 2016 KUSA)


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