By Eric Erickson
Como Park High School senior Alex Le received nominations to the U.S. service academies from Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Senator Tina Smith last fall.
When Le was appointed to the Air Force Academy, his college search was over.
Le was also appointed to the Naval Academy. He’s still waiting to hear from West Point.
But the decisions of the Army and the few other elite schools he applied to won’t matter. Le’s first choice always has been the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
As an Air Force cadet, Le’s tuition, room and board will be fully funded, and he will receive a $900 monthly stipend throughout his four years. Upon graduation, Le will serve five years of active duty — which is precisely the plan Le wants to pursue.
“I’m excited to give back through my service,” Le said. “I plan to be an aerospace engineer or a pilot.”
Le already has a private pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. He achieved that last summer by earning a full scholarship to the Naval Summer Flight Academy at Delaware State University.
Le is the son of Thephong Le and Danglan Nguyen. They migrated from Vietnam to St. Paul in the 1990s. Le attended Crossroads Elementary and Murray Middle School before his high school years at Como.
When asked about his Como experience, Le praised his teachers. “I’m grateful for their commitment. They are hard-working and give each student a chance to accelerate their learning and reach their full potential.”
In return, each of Alex’s teachers will tell you that he’s intellectually curious, motivated, kind and a pleasure to teach. His intelligence is matched by his effort — both are exceptional.
Le has a 4.0 GPA with a weighted GPA of 4.74 from Advanced Placement college-level courses.
Le said he used to be meek and quiet, but his involvement in Como’s Marine Corps JROTC program changed that.
“Marine Corps JROTC made me more confident, assertive, and, improved my leadership skills,” Le said. “I also learned humility and how to work as a team.”
Le acknowledged that the new team he will join at the Air Force Academy has a reputation for intensity.
When asked if he’s ready for it, Le paused, smiled and said, “Yes I am.”
Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School.
Photo caption Alex Le after achieving his private pilot’s license at the Naval Summer Flight Academy last August. Photo by Thephong Le.