On Dec. 22, Boothbay Region High School senior Glory Blethen received an unfamiliar incoming cell phone call. Her phone rang with a number from Washington, D.C. When Blethen answered, she was surprised her caller was U.S. Sen. Susan Collins congratulating her on being nominated as one of 42 Maine high school seniors selected to admission into one of the four U.S.service academies. “After school I looked at my phone and I was like, ‘Washington D.C.?’ This is so weird, and it was Sen. Collins congratulating me,” Blethen said. “I’m super excited, humbled and grateful receiving this nomination.”
Blethen’s path toward a military career began as a young girl wanting to follow in her parents’ path. Her mother Lesley Blethen served in the U.S. Army and father Brian Blethen served in the U.S. Coast Guard. Living in a seaside community gave Blethen an opportunity to learn nautical skills from her father. “He taught me the Coast Guard’s ‘Aids to Navigation’ and lets me skipper the family boat,” she said. “Being on the water is amazing. There is just something about it. It brings me happiness probably because you are probably spending time with people you want to be around.”
To receive a congressional nomination, a student must have outstanding academic skills and show leadership in their community. American Legion Post 36 Commander Dave Patch has served on U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s military academy student advisory committee for nine years. The committee usually interviews prospective candidates the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. The committee breaks into pairs to interview each applicant for 20 minutes. “Every year, I’m amazed at how many of these ‘A’ students or ‘A’s and B’s’ students find the time to study, volunteer and participate in sports,” Patch said.
In the interview process, Patch said Blethen had an advantage due to her athletic achievements. As a high school athlete, Blethen has participated in cross country in the fall and basketball in the winter. She is closing in on scoring 1,000 points in her high school career. Blethen played a key role in Boothbay winning the 2019 State Class C Girls Basketball title and her team reaching three consecutive regional finals.
“They are looking for leaders in the community and some athletic participation. I think Glory had a ‘leg up’ because she was recruited to play for them,” Patch said. “Looking at her record, she really could’ve gone anywhere she wanted to.”
As a leader, Blethen is the senior class president. She spent time in Guatemala in her freshman year in the “Safe Passages” program through her church group. She is also a member the Boothbay Region High School Interact Club, a youth version of Rotary International. She takes Rotary’s motto to heart. “Its ‘Service above self’ and community service is very important to me, and guides me in choosing what I want to do for a career,” she said.
So where will the lanky forward eventually “drop anchor” to attend college and play basketball next year? Both the Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academy are Division III schools. Blethen said the deciding factor will likely be what career path she pursues. “I want a long military career, maybe 30 to 40 years. I want to captain my own ship. At the Coast Guard, I would pursue business management. At King’s Island (Merchant Marine) I would probably study marine management,” she said. “I like both coaching staffs so that probably won’t be a factor in my decision,” she said.
Blethen expects to decide by mid-February.