January 19, 2015

Ripley Student to Attend State of the Union | Charleston Daily Mail

Last Wednesday was just like any other day for Ripley High School senior Trevor Tucker. Until he got called to the office.

“The principal was sitting there, so I was like ‘oh, no, here we go,’” Tucker recalled.

But Tucker wasn’t in trouble. Principal William Hosaflook handed him a telephone, and on the other end of the line was an aide from Sen. Joe Manchin’s office in Washington.

“She said, ‘Sen. Manchin doesn’t have an escort to the State of the Union address with President (Barack) Obama and he would like you to go to the House of Representatives chamber with him and watch the address,’” Tucker said.

“And I said, ‘Good Lord.’”

Tucker, who will attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in the fall, will join Manchin in Washington tonight to hear Obama’s seventh State of the Union address. The annual address is typically the only time of the year when the president, his Cabinet, members of both houses of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court gather together.

When Obama steps up to the podium just after 9 p.m., Tucker will be among the leaders of the world’s most powerful government.

“When they first told me, I called my mom and said ‘world leaders get invited to this thing, not 17-year-old high school kids,’” Tucker said. “So I’m really excited about this. It’s such a huge honor.”

Tucker is ranked second in his class of 224 students, maintaining a 4.1 grade point average, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, History Club, Collegiate Athletic Club and honorary mathematics fraternity Mu Alpha Theta. Outside the classroom, Tucker is the captain of Ripley’s varsity football and baseball teams and is an active member of Calvary United Methodist Church. He has served over 195 hours of community service during his high school years.

Tucker recently was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. He said the application process is rigorous, and few who apply make the cut.

Prospective students must apply for admission and apply for a nomination from their House representative, Senator or the vice-president, according to the U.S. Naval Academy’s website. About 4,000 students receive nominations every year, but only around 1,500 of those are appointed to the academy.

On top of that, Tucker said applicants must write an application for their school and pass a full physical and aptitude test.
Tucker wrote to Manchin to ask for his nomination for the academy, and Manchin nominated Tucker in December. Tucker was appointed to the academy soon after.

“Trevor is a proud West Virginian, a devoted American, and a hardworking and disciplined individual whose strong character and leadership qualities have earned him an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy,” Manchin said.

Tucker said he doesn’t follow politics much, but he’s been reading up on recent news and issues so he can have some talking points as he meets leaders from around the country.

“I’m a little nervous, but I like talking to people so it will be easy for me to do,” Tucker said.

Tucker is especially looking forward to meeting Manchin, whom he hasn’t met in person since a chance encounter when he was 4 years old. He and his brother, Nathan, who currently is attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, unknowingly met then-Gov. Manchin during a trip to Park Place Stadium Cinemas.

“I remember we shook his hand and mom told us after we shook hands, ‘that’s the governor and he’s a great man,’” Tucker said. “That’s the only time we’ve ever met, so I’m pretty excited to meet him again.”

Manchin reciprocated Tucker’s excitement in a statement, and said he is “thrilled” the Jackson County student will be representing his state at the presidential address.

“It is with great honor that I have invited him to join me for the State of the Union address,” Manchin said. “His many accomplishments in the classroom, on the ball field and in his community, along with his passion and commitment to carrying on our state’s tradition of service, has made our entire state proud. I have no doubt that he will serve our nation with the utmost honor and loyalty, and that is why I am so thrilled to have Trevor represent West Virginia as my guest.”

Trevor is the son of Terry and Rebecca Tucker of Ripley.

By:  Marcus Constantino