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 Trent Donley stands with Principal Mehess in front of Central's JROTC teamWildcat senior Trent Donley, who has distinguished himself in the STEM curriculum, has received a Congressional appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York.

Since its founding in 1943, dedication to duty, pride in country, and an indomitable spirit to learn and serve have been the hallmarks of Kings Point Midshipmen.

“As you embark on a four-year course of study and training to qualify as a Merchant Mariner and Navy Reserve Officer, you continue a proud tradition of personal commitment to educational excellence and achievement,” wrote Commander Michael A. Bedryk, Director of Admissions for the Academy, to Trent.

Trent was nominated for the Academy by Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper. He is one of only 280 appointees from an applicant pool of 2,000.

An appointment to the Academy is equivalent to a scholarship valued at nearly $300,000.

At the Academy, four years of regimental and academic curriculum is complemented by three trimesters at sea on the U.S. Flag Merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships, as well as an internship.

Completion of the four-year program will lead to a Bachelor of Science degree, a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer’s License and an Ensign’s Commission in the Navy Reserve.

Trent plans to study engineering with a goal of becoming a pilot.

On Thursday, the Orman Army and family members helped the Midshipman-to-be celebrate this monumental occasion.

“I take great pleasure, on behalf of Vice Admiral Jack Buono, the Academy’s Superintendent, to recognize Trent’s appointment as a member of the Class of 2026,” noted Destiny Lotrich, Central’s Athletics and Activities Director.

At the 67th annual Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, Trent represented with “Universal Gate Valve," his Engineering Capstone Project.

As not all fire hoses connect to all fire hydrants, the Universal Gate Valve as designed by Trent will bypass this dilemma, allowing urban fire departments that travel to help battle a wildfire in a different region the ability to connect to available fire hydrants.

Trent’s idea was recognized by the Air Force Academy, with representatives offering to help the high-achieving Wildcat get his product patented.

At the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, Trent received two special awards.

The Andrew Keller Memorial Award, and with it $150: presented by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers-Chapter 354.

The Young Entrepreneur's Award, presented by the Wilkins Family, saw Trent receive $750. He was the only student at the Fair to receive this award.