Haley Donovan Accepted to Air Force Academy

Accepted to the highly selective Air Force Academy to undergo officer training is Calais High School's own Haley Donovan. (Submitted Photo)

By Lura Jackson


One of the most selective military programs in the country – the United States Air Force Academy – is about to receive a graduate from Calais Middle High School [CMHS]. Haley “Boosta” Donovan will be among the cadets at the elite academy when classes start at the end of June. After four years, if she is among the approximately 1,000 students that successfully graduate each year, she will be awarded with a Bachelor of Science and an officer position in the Air Force.

Donovan became interested in the military in her freshman year at CMHS. By the time she was a junior, she had her sights set on the Air Force, and she began working toward being admitted to the officer training academy. “I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to be an officer,” Donovan said. She is aiming to specialize in the Civil Engineering field, drawing from her strengths in math.

As a young woman, Donovan will be among a growing population of females serving as officers in the Air Force. The Air Force Academy opened to women in 1976, and every year more and more have graduated. The 2016 graduating class had the highest percentage of women officers yet at 25 percent.

Donovan credits her family and school advisors for supporting her in her quest to join the academy. “My parents have been extremely supportive and so has the rest of my family. I would also like to recognize JMG specialist Toby Cole and any teachers who wrote me letters of recommendation or helped me send the information out,” Donovan said.

Cole, who first came to know Donovan when he was working at the Calais Recreation Director, knew that Donovan would take the challenge of joining the academy seriously. “Knowing Haley’s commitment, dedication and ambition to pursue her dreams, I had no doubt that she wasn’t joking when she asked me for assistance with the application process.” As the process continued, Cole found himself amazed at what was involved. “Haley actually turned into my teacher as I had no idea about the extensive process that applicants have to go through just to apply.”

After the application was completed and acknowledged by the state, the waiting game began. “It’s kind of been a running joke, as every day we would check in with each other and ask, ‘Any news?’” Cole said. After months of not hearing anything, the pair began to make alternate plans. “It got to the point where, two weeks ago, Haley came to me discussing her options for attending her second choice.” Finally, Donovan received a call from Angus King notifying her she had been accepted. Cole, who was away at a JMG training when he heard, told all of his colleagues.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Haley will succeed,” Cole said. “She has proven time and time again in the years that I have known her that she doesn’t accept ‘no’ for an answer and that she will do whatever it takes to accomplish anything! Haley is an incredible role model for any student, and, for that matter, any adult. She has taught us all so much and will continue to do so in the future.”

For CMHS Principal Mary Anne Spearin, who has known Donovan since she was four, seeing her succeed is a special treat. “To watch a student go from being a shy 4-year old to being a confident, dedicated, and hard-working young lady is truly one of the most beautiful processes an educator can observe.”

Donovan will be heading to the Air Force Academy, located in Colorado, on June 28th. “I’m not necessarily nervous, however I am extremely excited and inquisitive about what is going to happen in my future,” she shared.