ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Wyatt Morris' course is charted, and in about eight weeks the Fairland High School senior will be setting off from the banks of the Ohio River to the hallowed waters of Annapolis, Maryland.
Morris signed a prestigious commitment to the U.S. Naval Academy in an afterschool ceremony Monday afternoon - a nine-year minimum commitment beginning with four years as a midshipmen, followed by at least five years as a commissioned officer. Morris aspires to pursue a career in submarine warfare as a nuclear engineer.
"It's surreal," Morris said in a call Monday, "For the longest time I didn't think I was going to get it. When I found out, it took a couple of days for it to really set in."
Morris was appointed to the Academy by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio's 6th Congressional District, which includes Lawrence County. As a junior, Morris attended the Academy's Summer Seminar in Annapolis last year.
"It's not surprising at all to anyone here at Fairland that he's been appointed to the Naval Academy," said Mindy Clark, Fairland's business and computers teacher. Clark, who has Morris in class this year, described the soon-to-be midshipmen as hard-working, driven and selfless.
"All-around, 100 percent a great kid," she added.
Morris will be inducted officially into the Naval Academy on June 27.
Three other young men from Fairland's Class of 2019 inked their commitments last week during the school's annual military signing day Friday, May 3. Jonathan Elliott enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, while James Gardner and Caleb Kretzer signed with the U.S. Marine Corps.