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Two high school seniors applying to Air Force Academy seeking community support

Two Pahrump Valley High seniors are seeking community support in their efforts to enter the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Dylan Metscher and Joe Sladek are scheduled to interview later this month as part of the application process. Both carry a 3.9 grade point average.

Metscher is presently the cadet battalion commander in the school’s JROTC program.

He said joining the Air Force has been a goal of his for many years.

“I’ve always had a big interest in the Air Force,” he said. “I have looked at all the other branches but the Air Force is what really stuck with me. My big plan is to be an Air Force pilot.”

Support for the applicants should come in the form of letters written to elected officials, where in turn, the elected official will write a letter of support to the academy’s nomination committee.

Sladek said he’s reaching out to several Nevada lawmakers and representatives for their support.

“For me to go to the Air Force Academy, I need a nomination,” he said. “There’s three people that I get a nomination from. That would be Congressman Cresent Hardy, and senators Dean Heller and Harry Reid. Two of the three are not in office anymore, but I can still receive a nomination from them.”

Sladek also spoke about his interest in entering the air force.

“Since my freshman year, it has been a goal of mine to become an Air Force officer,” he said. “I have a huge interest in aircraft, and one thing I’m pursuing is becoming a pilot in the United States Air Force. People in the community can also write letters of support to congressmen and senators stating that they want these kids to represent our community. They can send it by letter or email.”

Unlike Metscher, Sladek, who is president of the Honor Society, is not a member of the JROTC program, due to a conflict involving his status as the upcoming valedictorian of his class.

“As far as not joining the high school JROTC program, I am currently the valedictorian the senior class,” he said. “By joining the JROTC program, it would actually take me out of the running for valedictorian.”

As part of his involvement in extracurricular activities, Sladek is a kicker on the football team, member of the Key Club and a cadet commander in the Pahrump Civil Air Patrol.

“One of my main hobbies is flying and that’s where my huge interest is,” he said. “I want to become a pilot in the future. Right now I’m working for my private pilot’s license and I’ve invested a lot of time and money into it.”

Metscher, meanwhile, said his hobby is a bit more grounded.

“One of my big hobbies is fencing and I spend a lot of time doing that,” he said. “I fence about four times a week and that’s one of the more entertaining things that I enjoy doing. It’s not through the high school, but it’s my extracurricular activity.”

JROTC Commander Lt. Col. Patrick Nary said, to his knowledge, there has never been a PVHS student to enter the Air Force Aademy.

Those wishing to support Metscher and Sladek may email Nevada’s elected officials at their respective websites.

Both students are scheduled to interview before a nomination panel in Las Vegas next weekend.

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