After Being Elected a Junior Senator, Local Youth Aims for the Skies
Dedham's Ryan Fitzpatrick sets his sights on becoming a naval pilot.
Dedham's Ryan Fitzpatrick is a young man on a mission. Fitzpatrick wants to join the United States Navy as an officer, hoping to attend prestigious Annapolis Naval Academy in the near future with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot.
Fitzpatrick, a senior at Noble and Greenough, recently took a step in the right direction to achieve this goal when he beat out 400 other candidates to become a Massachusetts Boys State Junior Senator, the first from Dedham in more than 40 years.
Boys State is an arm of the Massachusetts American Legion that works with young adults. Next week, Fitzpatrick and other Junior Senators will head down to Washington,D.C. at Boys Nation to meet with the President Obama and other high-ranking legislators.
Speaking with Fitzpatrick, he explains why he became a junior senator, “the valedictorian at Boy's State was a Junior Senator too who was attending West Point and inspired me to run.”
Fitzpatrick said he had to speak in front of more than 400 people, delivering four speeches, one that came “off the cuff.” He also had to campaign for his position and debated other Junior Senate hopefuls on such topics as foreign policy and health care.
When delivery a speech on immigration, Fitzpatrick recalls why he thinks he was elected, for his honesty and sincerity.
“I answered it about how immigration is vital to this country. You cannot be against any form of letting people into this country on the most basic level. The only thing we have to figure out is we have millions of undocumented people and corporations and others can take advantage of these people; also we have to make sure they go through the legal channels to become citizens […] We need to create a kind of 21st century Ellis Island, especially along the Mexican border [...] There were a lot of candidates that got up their just to joke, but if you don't know what you are talking about, at the end of the day, people aren't going to be interested.”
Concerning his bid to become an officer at Annapolis and then join the military as a career pilot, Fitzpatrick said, “I really have an interest in flying naval aircraft. I'm looking into fighter jets. My grandfather was in the navy. He often told me about what he went through in Vietnam.
"I've always been interested in joining the military, forever really. In recent years, I realized I wanted to be up in the air. The F-18, F-35, they're awesome. If I could get into Annapolis and get in the flight school, I'd be set for life. It would be thrilling and fulfilling.”
Relating his thoughts on the danger involved in being a fighter pilot, in concert with the long-running war in Afghanistan, Fitzpatrick said, “[The war in Afghanistan] that's really why I want to go into the air. The horrors of war that take place, I want to help. In the air, relatively speaking, it's safer, but I still want to be able to help everyone and I think I can really make a difference as an officer in the air.”
Fitzpatrick just finished a week of boot camp in Connecticut as part of the AIM's program (Academy Introduction Mission) as part of the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Fitzpatrick wrapped up our chat with his hopeful outlook for the future saying, “I survived that round of training, so I'm looking forward to continuing the process.”