Scappoose twins earn prestigious USAF scholarship
- Arwen Ungar
- South County Spotlight - Features
Growing up with a father who flew fighter planes inspired Scappoose High Senior Jason Amick to follow in his footsteps and join the military ranks at the United States Air Force Academy.
'I remember my dad showing me fighter planes and thinking about them flying really fast and really high up,' Jason said.
But getting into the academy is no easy task. It has been almost 25 years since the last Scappoose High School student received the honor. That was Josh Smith.
Smith, who now practices law in Portland, works with the admissions department to advise and help students join the academy, although he didn't help with the Amicks' admission decision. He said the program is very competitive.
The program accepted about 1,500 students of more than 11,000 who apply, and more than 80 percent are in the top quarter of their classes, according to demographic information Smith provided.
Amick and his twin sister Ashley were both accepted into the program, which also provides a scholarship for all tuition, fees and living costs, estimated at more than $400,000 for a degree.
Ashley was, in part, accepted based upon her gymnastics skill, but after injuring herself she decided the Air Force Academy alone wasn't enough and declined her offer of admission.
But Jason, who said he likes to move around, still wanted to pursue a career in the military.
'I've gotten used to adjusting to moving around,' Jason said. 'I don't think it's a bad experience.'
Although the excitement of the Air Force beckons, Jason is aware of the harsh reality that the first year in the strenuous program can be.
For Smith, that first year was the toughest.
'It's definitely a big culture shock when you go on a routine. It's a big, big adjustment,' Smith said. 'A lot of kids struggled; I struggled.'
But surviving the academy enabled Smith to feel more prepared for his work as an active and reserve pilot in the Air Force.
'When you're in the Air Force you look back and draw on all those experiences,' Smith said.
After the academy, Jason hopes to travel as a fighter pilot in the military.
'I'm going to miss him a lot,' Ashley said. 'I've never not had him here, and that's kind of scary.'
Jason shrugged and said he'd miss his sister, too.
'I don't think he's going to miss me as much as I'll miss him,' Ashley added.