Receiving an appointment to any branch of the military is very rare. Receiving multiple appointments to different branches of the military is extraordinary. Extraordinary – like Georgia Martin.

Martin, a senior at ELCO High School, recently received not one, but two appointments, to both the United States Naval Academy and the United States Coast Guard Academy. In many ways, receiving an appointment to a service academy is more difficult than being accepted at an Ivy League college.

But because she’s earned it, Martin deserves it. Through smarts, an unrelenting work ethic, and uncompromising personal values, Martin is currently ranked first in ELCO’s 168-member class of 2021, with a weighted grade-point average of 105.4712 on a scale of 100.

“I think it’s definitely is a super amazing accomplishment. I don’t doubt that,” said Martin. “I really try to stay humble, but it’s who I am. I’ve always strived to be the best. I’m always going to try to do my best. Even if either (academy) didn’t work out, it didn’t mean I was going to stop striving to be the best. Just because I come from Myerstown, PA doesn’t mean I can’t go work at the Pentagon.”

“I’m definitely ready to see what else the world has to offer, experience new cultures, eat new foods, make new friends,” continued Martin. “ELCO has provided me with some structure. I wouldn’t be who I am without ELCO and Myerstown. But I’m ready to see what else is out there.”

Martin’s grandfather and great-grandfather served in the Navy. (Jeff Falk)

The process of applying for, and receiving, an appointment to a branch of the United States Military Service Academy alone is a daunting task. But the multi-step process seemed to fit Martin’s meticulous nature quite well.

That process included a background check and a listing of in- and out-of-school activities, academic transcripts, a fitness test, medical screening and a congressional nomination. The application process was difficult, but Martin seems to thrive in difficult situations.

“It’s a really intense process, one that requires preparation, but you’re striving to do the best you can,” said Martin. “Then once your application gets received, you wait and wait and wait. About a month ago, I was sitting in a Zoom class for yearbook, and I got a call from Reading, PA. When I didn’t recognize the number, I thought to myself, ‘I don’t need to answer that.’ But then I realized, ‘I’m going to answer that just in case.’ When I answered it, I heard Representative (Dan) Meuser’s voice and he said, ‘I’m very happy to inform you that you have been appointed to the Naval Academy.’ That’s the process.”

“It was so excited,” Martin continued. “But in my head, I was already accepted. When the phone call came, my heart rate immediately sped up. It was success. It was the knowledge that I had done it.”

In many ways, that phone call had been a culmination of everything Martin has accomplished to this point of her young life. While she underwent a similar experience with the United States Coast Guard Academy, her decision about which appointment to accept was somewhat of a foregone conclusion.

Martin comes from a family with a long history of service in the United States Naval Academy, a fact that has helped shape the person she has become.

(Submitted photo)

“In my mind, the Naval Academy was always my first choice,” said Martin, 18. “The Navy is in my family. My grandfather and my great-grandfather both served in the Navy. It was a fairly easy decision. When I got into the Naval Academy, I knew it’s where I wanted to go.”

“I think the length of the process and all the moving parts I had to keep track of made it more rewarding,” added Martin. “This was unlocking a whole new future for me. It was the end of the process, but it was also a first step. It was my dream coming true, and it made me realize I was going to experience the journey. It meant so much to me because I knew I was going to embark on this journey.”

While service in a branch of the United States military has always been in the back of her mind growing up, the proverbial ‘lightbulb above her head’ may have gone off for Martin during her freshman year at ELCO, during an English class taught by Jonathan Bickel, who also serves as the school district’s yearbook adviser.

“I came across this interview with a master sergeant in the air force and one of the things he said that really stood out to me was ‘anyone who has ever thought about military service should try it’,” said Martin. “I think it goes through a lot of people’s heads. I thought to myself, ‘Should I look into it?’ The Naval Academy stood out to me because of the structural environment and the education opportunities. I’ve always liked to challenge myself.”

“I think the military has done so much for the country in the past,” Martin added. “The men and women of the past have fought for so many fundamental freedoms. We need to preserve those freedoms for generations to come. I think sometimes our military is taken for granted. I really need to have respect for what they’ve done. It’s an American duty to carry the weight.”

At ELCO, Martin is involved in a number of different capacities. In addition to her academic achievements, she is ELCO’s Class of 2021 president, editor in chief of the yearbook, a section leader in the Raider marching band, and a member of the varsity tennis and track and field teams.

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Those are just a few of the highlights of Martin’s in-school and community extra-curricular activities. The remainder is too extensive to list here.

“At this point, I’m considering a major in the aero-space engineering field,” said Martin. “Just because I say that now doesn’t mean it won’t change, but something along those lines. I’d like to work at the Pentagon or for homeland security or for NASA. I think space is our future. It has so much potential. I think it’s so important for the United States to remain a world power, to remain a space power. It’s important to keep the United States safe and strong.”

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In addition to the Navy and Coast Guard, Martin also applied to such prestigious colleges as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale, Cornell, and Carnegie-Mellon.

“I think it’s the story of a girl from a small town who’s going to change the world,” said Martin, with respect and humility. “I think it’s important to showcase that I did it, and that anyone can do it. It just takes a little grit, a little determination. But it really does pay off.”

An extraordinary young woman, who’s about to do extraordinary things.

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Jeff Falk is a seasoned journalist based in Lebanon, PA. He's a graduate of Cedar Crest High School, Penn State University, and a lifelong resident of Lebanon, born and raised. Currently, he is a feature writer for Engle Publishing in Lancaster, the editor of, sports director at WLBR...