‘I want to make my family proud’

Acceptance to Naval Academy is to influence others, says senior


Courtesy photo
Quelice Williams was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

During an interview with Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s office, Quelice Williams, 18, said his desire to be accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, was to influence other Navajo students to get off the reservation, improve their lives and make a difference in the world.

This session with Flake’s interview committee was just one hurdle the Sunnyslope High senior had to endure in hopes that he would be one of the senator’s nominations to the academy. Each member of Congress can nominate 10 candidates annually to attend the Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy or Naval Academy. Williams was nominated by Flake and accepted into the prestigious Naval Academy where he will study nuclear engineering.

“There’s a big world out there and nothing will ever change if you stay inside your comfort zone,” said Williams in a phone interview. “I want other Native students to open their eyes to the world and make them see that an education is a way for them to travel, see the world, and improve the reservation, and end the stereotype that all Natives are lazy and just drunks.”

An outstanding and gifted student, he also participates in track and cross-country. Williams is a member of his high school’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Joining the corps, he said, was a total fluke. “I thought it was a engineering class but it wasn’t. I had no clue what it was,” he admitted. Rather than quitting JROTC, he kept with it through all four years of high school.

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Categories: People

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.