Hillsdale Academy senior Faith Van Havel will be the first to be accepted into the Air Force Academy.
Faith Van Havel | Courtesy

Faith Van Havel will trade her Hillsdale Academy uniform skirt for a blue suit when she begins her freshman year of college this August as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Col­orado Springs, Col­orado.

Van Havel achieved an his­toric first for Hillsdale Academy by becoming their first graduate to attend the Air Force Academy. Van Havel was also accepted into the United States Mil­itary Academy, but her love of flying and family legacy with the Air Force made the decision to don the wings an easy one.

“I think it’s a necessity for people to commit them­selves to service, either to the com­munity or mil­itary, and I chose the mil­itary. I want to fly post-grad­u­ation and there are more oppor­tu­nities to do that in the Air Force rather than West Point,” Van Havel said.

Mil­itary service has been a part of Van Havel’s life since childhood through the example of her parents. Like his daughter, Jeff Van Havel was the first student at his high school in Morenci, Michigan, to be accepted to the Air Force Academy and retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Col. after 22 years of flying as a fighter pilot.

He met Faith’s mother, Theresa Van Havel, on an Air Force base where she was enlisted in the Air Force Nurse Corps.

“I think Faith is going in with her eyes open and that she knows the risks and rewards. It’s about service. I think she’s really impressed with all the stories that we shared of our expe­ri­ences in the Air Force and wanted that for herself,” Jeff Van Havel said.

At Hillsdale Academy, Van Havel applied herself to the rig­orous aca­demic load along with three sports, playing bas­ketball, vol­leyball, and com­peting as a sprinter in track for all four years.

“Faith’s a go-getter. There is no chal­lenge that she won’t apply herself to do well in. We told her to work hard because the things taught at the Academy aren’t given freely,” Theresa Van Havel said.

In the classroom, Van Havel met the stan­dards of the Air Force Academy where the average GPA of an incoming cadet is 3.88.

“Faith is a very bright young lady and a very humble young lady. As a student those two attributes made her a joy to teach. She’s also a very tough young lady, not mean or rough. That’s also key to her success,” Ken Calvert said, Head­master of Hillsdale Academy.

She plans to major in civil engi­neering at the Air Force Academy to pursue her love of archi­tecture after serving as a pilot.