BERLIN — Katie Hofman will be shipping out to Annapolis at the end of June to join the other midshipmen in the Naval Academy’s Class of 2021.
Hofman’s appointment to the Naval Academy is the culmination of an application process that began in her sophomore year of high school at Decatur and has continued through a post-grad year at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.
Katie Hofman is the daughter of local restaurateurs John and Pam Hofman, owners of Johnny’s Pizza in Ocean City.
Hofman started her journey with a preliminary application to the Naval Academy her sophomore year. She attended both STEM camp and Summer Seminar at the Naval Academy during high school. In addition to the Navy application, Hofman had to apply to Maryland senators and congressmen for a nomination to the Academy. This year, she received her nomination from Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Hofman also received an appointment to West Point Military Academy from Congressman Andy Harris, but refused it in favor of the Navy.
“My grandfather went there [Naval Academy] and growing up at the ocean, I’ve always known I wanted to do something with water,” she said.
Hofman explained that instead of receiving a direct appointment to the Naval Academy after graduating from Decatur in 2016, she entered into the Navy’s Foundation program. The post-grad year allowed her to take additional advanced classes to prepare her for the rigor of the Naval Academy.
Captain Edward Wallace of the US Naval Academy Foundation program explained that approximately 400 of the 1,200 applicants admitted to the Naval Academy each year are not new high school graduates but instead college graduates and foundation program students. As Hofman’s Blue and Gold officer, Wallace expressed pride in Hofman’s success and in the support the foundation program offers students. Hofman agreed that the foundation year prepared her academically, athletically and mentally for Naval Academy.
“I feel better with my academics,” Hofman said. “I thought I could just breeze in through physics and then I took just general physics and that was the class I probably learned the most in.”
Once in the Naval Academy, Hofman plans to study chemistry in order to be a naval doctor but has expressed interest in joining the Marines. Regardless of the career he or she pursues, every student at the Naval Academy graduates as an officer and is enlisted for five years. If she is able to pursue medicine, however, Hofman is willing to stay in the Navy for life.
On June 29, Hofman will be inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2021 and will begin her first day of Plebe Summer, an intensive six-week training program every new Naval Academy inductee must pass in preparation for the rigor of the next four years.
As someone who ran track throughout high school and has been a member of Cross Fit Ocean City for three years, Hofman is not too concerned about meeting the athletic requirements once at the Naval Academy.
“You can have me run obstacle courses all day, but yelling at my face telling me what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch, what’s for dinner, what’s the ranks of the Navy, I’ll be intimidated,” Hofman said.
Hofman explained how every midshipman at the Naval Academy must memorize Reef Points, the handbook of the Brigade of Midshipmen, which includes the Navy’s mission statement, oath, and ranks. Surprisingly this memorization, not the physical and mental strain, is what she is most nervous about for Plebe Summer.
Looking back, Hofman acknowledged the long road she has taken to get to this point.
“I’ve been sneaking under the radar since freshman year by getting my preliminary application in early, by going to all the different camps and I think it’s just a lot of dedication put behind it that has finally paid off and it’s amazing to see that,” Hofman said. “I’m proud, not only of me but of the community that stands behind me.”