Leadership, academic excellence, a team player, mature, articulate.
These are descriptions of Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) graduate David Mazza who is enrolled this fall at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Karl Covert, dean and superintendent of WTMC and Julie Catanzarite, manager of Washtenaw Community College’s New Student Programming, fondly recall the attributes of the former student who also served as a WCC student ambassador.
Covert remembers him as an integral member of the school when a new ninth grade program was launched and his willingness to be of service to others.
While a senior at WTMC, which is a highly-rated charter high school on WCC’s campus, Mazza applied for admittance to the Air Force Academy, equipped with letters of recommendation from Covert and Catanzarite. But he was denied.
Mazza, according to his former school administrators, took the rejection as a challenge and worked to advance his leadership skills and physical fitness while at Oakland University this past school year.
He also attended the academy’s summer program to improve his chances for candidacy.
It paid off. Mazza, along with 19 other Michigan students, received a nomination from U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).
Mazza is the first from WTMC to be admitted to the Academy. Applicants to the nation’s service academies, must be between 17 and 23 years of age, go through a highly competitive and rigorous application process and be reviewed by a panel of community and military members to earn the congressional appointment that is usually required for those seeking admittance to a U.S. service academy.
Covert said that one of the first things Mazza did after learning the news of his appointment was to contact Katie Glupker, his WTMC academic advisor.
“David worked really hard to become the kind of student that the Air Force Academy notices,” Glupker said. “He will be an outstanding addition to the U.S. Air Force Academy. I’m so proud of his growth and well-deserved success.”
Mazza began his studies at the academy in July. He will attend the academy for four years, and then commit to five years of military service after graduation.
“David was an advocate for the school, a positive role model, and really worked to promote WTMC,” Covert said. “He was always one of the students that we could ask to help us when we did recruitment nights, or when we needed students
to shadow new students learning about the school.”
Catanzarite, who was Mazza’s supervisor while he was employed as a student ambassador at the college, remembers his ability to consistently work with others.
“He was articulate and took the time to make sure every new student felt comfortable with the steps needed to successfully start and complete college,” Catanzarite said. “David certainly led by example.”
By Anita LeBlanc