Second Class Midshipman
United States Naval Academy
When it comes to goals and accomplishments, Charlie Shepperd has literally set his sights high. The Second Class (or Junior) Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy hopes to be a Marine Corp Aviator, flying either jets or helicopters after he’s graduated from the academy with a BS in naval architecture.
While his dreams and adventures may be sky high, he’s grounded in his appreciation of his SCDS education. He credits the school, which he transferred to as a sixth grader, for introducing him to the “Pledge to Ourselves” and for showing him the value of asking teachers for help.
“The pledge molded my development as a student at SCDS and it resonates with me still,” he said. “We would recite the pledge at the Monday assemblies. At that young age, I didn’t fully understand its importance, but as I have grown older and matured, it has become extremely relevant in my life. I use every day and every opportunity to develop who I truly am as a person and a leader at the naval academy.”
This year’s opportunities included being a student at the National Outdoor Leadership School during the summer and spending 28 days in the Alaskan wilderness practicing leadership and mountaineering techniques. Charlie also traveled to San Diego for a month-long training about the service communities in the Navy and the Marine Corps. In October he ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, finishing in three hours and fifty-six minutes.
“The Naval Academy develops midshipmen into capable leaders who will be commissioned officers in either the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps,” Charlie explained. “After I graduate, I will have the privilege of leading sailors and marines, and it’s my obligation to them to be the best leader I can be,” he said. “I use each day to develop my character, morality, personal leadership style, and leadership ability in order to maximize my leadership potential.”
Faced with a challenging course load at the academy, Charlie has also found it helpful to continue a practice of interacting with instructors that he also learned at SCDS. “The small class sizes at SCDS helped by making the teachers accessible to students, and I quickly learned the value of seeking help from teachers,” he said. “It helped me in high school, and it is especially helpful now. I regularly attend extra instruction sessions with my professors.”