Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clifton Teen Ready for Annapolis

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Clifton Teen Ready for Annapolis

Article excerpt

CLIFTON - Ashley Mangarella's longtime dream of attending the U.S. Naval Academy almost didn't come true because of the Lyme disease she contracted during summer camp as a child.

Shortly after learning she had secured an appointment to attend the academy and had been the sole candidate recommended from the 9th Congressional District, Mangarella received a letter informing her she had been disqualified because of her history with Lyme disease.

With the help of her parents, Mangarella was able to receive a medical waiver after proving she had not had a "flare-up" of the arthritis in her knees, caused by the disease, in more than two years.

Back on track, Mangarella said she now hopes to embody the U.S. Navy's credo of "honor, courage, commitment" when she ships out this summer for boot camp at the Annapolis, Md., academy.

Mangarella, a senior at Passaic County Technical Institute, said she's been dreaming of the academy since her sophomore year.

"It started my sophomore year," Mangarella said of her pursuit. "Before that, I never envisioned the military in my future."

She said the Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at the Wayne technical school piqued her interest regarding the academy. At the suggestion of an ROTC instructor, she began researching the academy.

"It was the mentality - the structure and discipline - that attracted me," the 17-year-old recalled. "It's not your typical college experience. I'm very leadership oriented and into physical fitness as well as education. So those points stood out."

In addition to her high rank among hundreds of ROTC students, the 15-year resident of Clifton is captain of the lacrosse team, president of the National Honor Society and a member of the Dance World Academy.

Each year, 17,000 apply and about 1,200 are inducted. The institution's 9 percent acceptance rate is only bested by Stanford University, Columbia, Harvard, the Julliard School, Princeton, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago. (The United States Military Academy has a 10 percent acceptance rate.)

About 700 from New Jersey apply each year, and 50, or 7 percent, are offered an academy appointment, the U. …

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