Annapolis Proud: Second St. Mary’s senior accepted to prestigous Naval Academy

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Jeremy Friedel, left, welcomed his friend and fellow St. Mary’s classman Matthew Thibodaux to Annapolis Naval Academy.

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

For the second consecutive year, a St. Mary’s student has been accepted to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Matthew Thibodaux started his application to the Naval Academy last June right before his friend, Jeremy Friedel, went to Annapolis for his plebe summer at the Naval Academy.

“He had been trying to convince me to apply for several months and I finally decided I would give it a shot. I have wanted to serve my country in its military for several years and I thought that the Naval Academy would be a great option,” Thibodaux said. “I went for Navy over the other branches because I knew people in it. Both the same friend I mentioned earlier and his father are in the Navy. I have spent a lot of time around these people and they have had a big impact on my choice. I also like that there are many career options in the Navy. In my opinion, the Naval Academy offers the widest variety of career options coming out of school.”

Thibodeaux is a two-time state champion powerlifter

Thibodaux is considering majoring in chemistry so he will have the option of becoming a doctor at some point. He said he also likes their many engineering courses and may end up majoring in one of those. “I don’t have to pick a major immediately so I hope to find what I like before deciding on one,” Thibodaux’s family is supportive of his choice.

“My dad has helped me throughout the application. St. Mary’s is like an extension of my family. I have known many of the kids in my class since we were very young. Their support was very important to me. St. Mary’s also helped me by helping me achieve high academic scores,” he said. Those scores were instrumental to making it into the Naval Academy. He visited Annapolis in January for a Candidate Visit Weekend (CVW) where he spent two nights and a day with a plebe or freshman.

Thibodeaux is a well rounded high school senior whose hobbies include hunting, playing football and powerlifting

“I spent that time with my friend who got in last year. On that weekend, I learned a lot about the Academy just by following my friend around. I felt like I fit in with the people I met. I felt at home with all those young people who all had the same goal in mind; to be in the United States Navy.” Thibodaux expects plebe summer to be difficult, but has no doubt he will make it through. He said he is determined to be an officer in the Navy. “School will be difficult as well but I think I am going to enjoy the challenge. The things I will learn there will be exciting and I look forward to being in one of the premier academic programs in the country. This will help me later on in my career as a naval officer and as a citizen in the workforce after that.”

From left are Damon LeGrande and the Thibodeaux brothers

Thibodaux, an outstanding St. Mary’s student, is also an athlete and a well rounded young man. He enjoys hunting, fishing on Sibley Lake and reading. “I come from a big family so any peaceful time outside is a blessing. I am interested in metalworking such as blacksmithing and bullet casting. As I mentioned, I have a big family. I have two older brothers, two younger sisters and three younger brothers. I enjoy playing with my little siblings and I will miss them when I go to Annapolis. I hope to be a good example and an inspiration to them so they can achieve great things. I hope to retire from the Navy in the future and live on a large piece of land where I can spend lots of time outside with a family of my own,” he said.