One Palm Desert High School senior has been accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
News Channel 3’s Madison Weil sat down with Cadet Colonel Kyla Manning to learn more about her accomplishments and future plans.
“I woke up at like 2:30 and got the email...I had to read it a couple times because I didn’t really believe it. It was kind of unreal for me,” said Manning, describing the moment she received her acceptance letter.
Manning says the moment represented a dream more than four years in the making.
“I come from a background of family in service, whether that would be in military or law enforcement...and I thought I would join that line,” she explained.
Manning says she started ROTC as a freshman at Palm Desert High School.
“My tip for those that are wanting to be in the military...is starting early. And definitely making some sacrifices. In high school I wasn’t that kid that would go to every single event, every single dance...I kind of had to make those sacrifices for the grades, for clubs, for sports,” she said.
Her hardwork and dedication paid off: more than 16,000 students applied for a spot in the academy this year. Only about 8% get accepted annually.
“She’s worked for four years to get to this point,” said Jessica Manning, Kyla’s mother. “There are no words. We are so elated. So proud of her,” echoed her father, Mike Manning.
Manning says she couldn’t have achieved this without the support of her parents and mentors.
“Kyla has been an inspiration since she was a freshman,” said Jude Wehler, Cadet Corps Commandant 1LT, Palm Desert High School.
Manning not only has bright plans for the future, but also leaves behind an impact on young girls in the program at Palm Desert High. “When she was a freshman, we had four cadets that were female. Now, four years later, we have 50% of our class is female,” said Wehler.
Manning says her long-term goal is to become a pilot. “It would be unreal if I completed that dream,” she said.
And she hopes her example helps lift up others: “I hope that me getting accepted into the Naval Academy can inspire other young women like myself. Because we need more young girls. I hope they can see this and go for it. Because if I can do it, they can do it."