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Dos Pueblos Senior Accepted Into All Four Military Academies

Zachary Frontado chooses the U.S. Air Force Academy after also getting into West Point, the Naval Academy and the Coast Guard Academy

Dos Pueblos High School senior Zachary Frontado was accepted to all four U.S. military academies. He has decided to attend the Air Force Academy.
Dos Pueblos High School senior Zachary Frontado was accepted to all four U.S. military academies. He has decided to attend the Air Force Academy. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos High School senior Zachary Frontado has accomplished the feat of sweeping the federal service academies, getting accepted into all four of the military institutions to which he applied.

Frontado has decided to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., but was also accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

At 18, he’s a senior at Dos Pueblos with a long resume of academic, athletic and extracurricular achievements, and his parents — Kim Frontado, and Tina and Greg Frontado — couldn't be prouder.

Last summer alone, he spent a week at the Naval Academy, attended the American Legion California Boys State event, spent a week at the Coast Guard Academy, and then worked as a junior lifeguard, said Tina Frontado, his stepmother. 

The family is quick to thank the many people who helped and encouraged “Team Zach” during the long application and interview process, which includes getting a congressional nomination and passing a physical fitness test.

Among those people are Andrea Rifkin with CHOICES college counseling services, ACT and SAT coach Kim Phillips, fitness coach Fess Del Campo, and Chelsea Stevenson, an administrative assistant of sorts who helped organize all the application paperwork.

Frontado is a member of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and had decided to pursue engineering as a career.  

While researching colleges, he came across the federal service academies and decided that was the best choice for him.

“It’s something I would love to do, serve my country and also get a five-star education in the process,” he said. “I didn’t see any other path that would be as fulfilling as choosing that.”

He has several family members with military connections — including his father, who was in the Air Force, and some cousins who are currently enlisting, which contributed to his decision, he added.

“As I did research and talked to more officers and cadets. I found out that I wanted to pursue flying and the Air Force Academy offered me the best chance to become a pilot,” he said.

Now that he’s decided to attend the Air Force Academy, his goal is to become a pilot for his military career and then pursue engineering afterward.

Classes start at the end of June and the first six weeks are like a boot camp, he said.

“I think I’m looking forward to the academy, but not really looking forward to freshman year," he said. "Everyone’s going to be picking on you and all that, giving you a hard time just because you’re a freshman.”

The application process was different for each school and it was “pretty daunting” at first, he said.

These schools have to “invite” you to apply after an initial application and Frontado received invites and early decisions from all four schools. He received a congressional nomination from the office of Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, which was a mandatory piece for most of the applications. 

“It’s been a ride, it’s been a journey, you know, when you work really hard toward something and put so much energy into it,” Tina Frontado said. “Zach’s definitely not afraid of a challenge — even though we all have our doubts, he still plows right through it and it’s really amazing to see.” 

The Air Force Academy was his first, and probably most memorable, letter of acceptance.

“It was like 5 in the morning and I think Tina was up and she couldn’t sleep or something, so she checked her email. She saw that and she called my mom, I was at my mom’s house at the time, and my mom came into my room yelling bloody murder, I thought someone was hurt!” he recalled. “We had a little celebration and I went back to sleep.”

Despite his hard work during the application process, he was surprised to hear back from all four of them, and so quickly.

“It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders hearing back, a huge relief — all that work paid off,” he said.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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