Five local teens fulfill life goals
by Natalie Conrad
Despite a decline in spots available at military academies and an increasing lack of interest among youth in that career path, five teens from the Third Congressional District are beating the odds and fulfilling their dreams to serve their country.
Third District Rep. Erik Paulsen hosted a reception to congratulate the five military academy appointees June 10 at Star Bank in Eden Prairie. The annual reception was more personalized this year with the small amount of students, compared to the typical 13-14 students in previous years. Usually the district receives about 36 applications, but only got 29 this year.
Regardless of the decline in the number of military appointees, their role in the community is irreplaceable, whether it be in the Army, Navy or Air Force, according to Paulsen.
“Whether you are a shipmate or a cadet, you are representing the best of the best,” Paulsen said.
Out of this year’s elite group of appointees, two are attending the United States Military Academy, two are attending the United States Air Force Academy and one is attending the United States Naval Academy.
Wayzata resident Charlie Christianson was inspired by his family to attend the U.S. Military Academy. With three cousins in the military, the Providence Academy graduate says he has wanted to join the military ever since he could remember. Driven by his goal to serve, Christianson focused on math and science in school and was involved in National Honor Society. In addition to academics, he played football, was on the swim team and helped start a sailing team.
Christianson will start his post-secondary adventure at West Point on July 1. With a full list of accomplishments from high school, he is looking to the future, or at least the first steps.
“I just hope to make it through basic training,” Christianson said.
Lincoln Mallinger, a St. Michael-Albertville High School graduate and resident of Champlin will join Christianson at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Family was also an influential factor in sparking Mallinger’s interest in the military.
“I always thought I would join the military,” Mallinger said. “My dad spent 21 years in the National Guard and I really admired that.”
Academics and National Honor Society were also priorities for Mallinger, who was recruited to wrestle at the academy. Mallinger says he is excited to serve and hopes to continue a career in the army after graduating.
The United States Air Force Academy will welcome two young women from the Third District. Both Wayzata resident Crosby Shaver and Excelsior resident Anna Meiusi will attend the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Shaver, a Wayzata High School graduate, was inspired to join the Air Force by her cousin who was in the military, and says it was just something she always wanted to do. Like the other recruits, Shaver kept busy in high school with academics, taking AP/honors courses as well as playing hockey and lacrosse. She plans to continue her lacrosse career at the academy. Her future plans include flying a plane and studying astrophysics.
Minnetonka High School graduate Anna Meiusi said she has simply always had a desire to serve her country. Meiusi had a busy senior year serving as captain of both cross country and track teams, both of which went to state this year.
“I learned a lot from being a leader in sports and I hope those leadership skills help me in the future,” Meiusi said.
Meiusi is also involved in alpine skiing and National Honor Society. She plans to ski at the Air Force. Like fellow recruit Shaver, Meiusi also hopes to fly. Both girls will report for duty on June 23.
Wayzata resident Erik Sutton is the lone U.S. Naval Academy attendee from the district. The Wayzata High School graduate had a slightly different path than the other appointees. Sutton had intended to attend the academy upon his graduation in 2012, but due to complications ended up attending Georgetown University for a year before being appointed to the academy. Despite the delay, Sutton was dedicated to the career path.
“ I was always set on a career in the military,” Sutton said. “My grandfather was in the Navy in the 50s and I was drawn to his stories.”
In high school, Sutton was on swim team, student council and investment club. He also swam for the club team at Georgetown University. Sutton said he is open to possibilities in the future and is hoping the experience leaves him well-rounded. Sutton will start basic training on June 26.
Contact Natalie Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org.