Lincoln-Way cadet receives appointment to United States Air Force Academy
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lincoln-Way West senior Teresa Kozak will have a slightly shorter summer than most graduates; Kozak will graduate at the end of May and report to the United States Air Force Academy one short month later. Her notification of acceptance to the academy arrived sooner than she had expected on the morning of February 7, 2017, and Kozak’s parents had requested that she tell them of any application feedback in person--forcing her to keep the appointment a secret until after school.

“I got an email saying I had a new notification in the application portal, and so I opened up the notification and it was my acceptance letter,” says Kozak. “It was right before school started. My parents told me that when I found out whether or not I got in, they wanted to hear about it in person, so I had to wait until after school to tell them…I didn’t even text them!”

Kozak, a senior from Manhattan, has an impressive high school record. She is involved in AFJROTC, as well as five activities within AFJROTC. Kozak is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Kitty Hawk Air Society, Latin Honor Society, and Junior Classical League. She is also appointed as the IL-961 Lincoln-Way Central and West JROTC Group Commander, which is the highest ranking cadet in the unit.

In the Sons of the American Revolution Outstanding JROTC Cadet Essay Contest, Kozak took first place in state and tenth place at nationals. With a 4.838, she has achieved the high honor roll every semester. Kozak is a member of the Principal’s Cabinet at Lincoln-Way West, was named as “Student of the Month” at Lincoln-Way West, and was “Knighted” in her time at Lincoln-Way Central.

“The whole experience in JROTC really prepares you,” says Kozak. “It teaches you drill and ceremony, military customs and courtesies; I’m really glad I participated because that’s going to help me a lot with the academy.”

Kozak was given special recognition for her accomplishments at the Lincoln-Way Senior Citizen Breakfast on March 10, 2017. “On Tuesday, February 7th, Teresa received an exciting appointment that I am proud to share with you all today,” said Superintendent Scott Tingley. “I would like to congratulate Miss Kozak for achieving her goal of being appointed to the United States Air Force Academy. Teresa, we are very proud of all of your accomplishments at Lincoln-Way, and look forward to seeing your continued success. Congratulations!”

Kozak looks forward to enjoying the next few months before starting a new chapter. “The whole experience going from a civilian to military lifestyle—I feel like that’s going to be a challenge but also going to be really cool,” she says. “I’ll miss the students and teachers here. I’ve never felt that I couldn’t be myself; I always felt at home at Lincoln-Way. It’s going to be weird going to a school that doesn’t feel like home. It’s going to be interesting, but I’m excited for the challenge.”