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Chester County Press

Rhys Whitehouse wins appointment to U.S. Coast Guard Academy Scholars Program

05/26/2020 12:34PM ● By Steven Hoffman

When Rhys Whitehouse was three years old, his family took him on a vacation to Bridlington, Yorkshire, one of the United Kingdom’s coastal towns. One day during that trip they saw the United Kingdom’s version of the Coast Guard—called Her Majesty’s Coastguard—do search-and-rescue training exercises.

Mark Whitehouse can clearly remember his three-year-son announcing to the family that day that he wanted to join the Coast Guard one day.

That day has arrived.

Rhys Whitehouse, now a senior at Avon Grove High School, has won an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy Scholars Program.

“He never wavered on that,” Mark Whitehouse said of his son’s determination to join the Coast Guard. “He was just locked in on that from a very early age.”

Mark Whitehouse said that the family moved to the U.S. from the United Kingdom about nine years ago, settling in the Avon Grove School District. By the time Rhys reached high school, he really started focusing in on what it would take to earn appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. When he was in his junior year in high school, Rhys applied for and was accepted to the AIM (Academy Introduction Mission), for a week-long program. The experience was a good one, and Rhys was the recipient of the Honor Cadet Award at the completion of the AIM. In the fall of 2019, Rhys applied to the United States Coast Guard Academy, and he was notified that he had earned  a spot in the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island in December.

Mark Whitehouse explained that it’s extremely competitive to get an appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, which is the smallest of the five United States service academies. It is ranked among the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, training the future leaders of America’s multi-mission maritime military force. It’s so rare for a student to be accepted into the Coast Guard Academy, in fact, that one school district official told Mark Whitehouse that Rhys may be the only Avon Grove student in the last 20 years to earn that distinction.

Having a well-rounded background is a prerequisite for entrance into the United States Coast Guard Academy, and Rhys worked hard in the classroom, consistently earning a spot on the honor roll in high school. He volunteered with the West Grove Fire Company and helped work on the light and sound team for the high school’s theater program. Rhys was also a defensive lineman on the Avon Grove football team. He was on the varsity squad the last three seasons.

Rhys has also been training to get his license to pilot helicopters at Chester County Aviation for the last few years. He won a scholarship just last year from the Aero Club of Pennsylvania that helped pay for his flying lessons.

Mark Whitehouse is extremely proud of his son as he prepares to embark on this next stage of his life—and he comes one step closer to fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“He’s detail-oriented and he likes structure,” Mark Whitehouse said. “He’s an exceptional young man, if I do say so myself.”

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