Ola’s First Ever Air Force Academy Appointee

Jarrett Joyner is the first student at Ola to achieve acceptance into the United States Air Force Academy, and hopes to inspire others in working toward such a goal.


Joyner shakes hands with Congressman Jody Hice during his visit to Ola this year. Hice nominated Joyner for the USAFA appointment.

Emilie Castillo, Layout Design Manager

Earlier this month, Jarrett (Jett) Joyner, senior, was officially appointed to attend the United States Air Force Academy(USAFA). The process applicants undergo in order to achieve eligibility into the Academy is exceptionally competitive, and Joyner is the first student in Ola’s history to obtain this achievement.

The Air Force Academy has a very specific type of student in mind when considering applicants; they look for those who have strong leadership, academic, and physical abilities along with someone of overall good moral character. After gaining eligibility, one of the first steps in applying is obtaining a nomination by a legally authorized nominating entity. Joyner passed both levels for the congressional nomination in the first cut. After this the process includes teacher evaluations, fitness assessments, a record of extracurricular activities, personal interviews, and medical evaluations along with many other things. Not only is the system very thorough, it is very competitive with only about a 12-18 percent acceptance rate and close to 10,000 people applying each year.

Joyner advises anyone who is interested in it to start early. “All throughout high school I’ve tried to stay on my grades and do as much as I can… most of it is just make sure you’re doing the right thing and get active. When applying a lot of it was how many things you do in school and what you do,” said Joyner.

Joyner has been working hard to be well-rounded throughout the entirety of his high school career even though the USAFA has not always been his goal. Lt. Col. Michael A. Brown, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, said, “He’s been a leader in sports and in JROTC…  he’s strong academically and participates in community service in and out of Ola… and has been in multiple sports like track, wrestling, and soccer… he has the whole package that competitive institutions are looking for – he’s phenomenal.”

At this point Joyner has put himself in a position where he has multiple options available to him. Before his appointment to the Air Force Academy, he had already secured the Air Force ROTC scholarship and is waiting to hear from the Naval Academy. The ROTC scholarship pays for the tuition of any school he can get accepted into. He has applied to Pepperdine, California, and the University of Georgia as well as Georgia Tech, and received acceptance to a few of those already. He said, “I never really thought I would [get appointed] because it’s so selective. You always want to have a second and third option.”

Now, Joyner is working towards finishing the year off well and preparing for the Academy. He hopes he has inspired others to work towards their goals and show that getting into the USAFA is not impossible for his fellow cadets at Ola.

Joyner said, “I’m getting ready to go. I leave some time in June for training, so I’m just trying to get ready for that – physically and mentally. I’m playing soccer now, trying to stay active. I’ll probably work out beforehand so I don’t go in weak… I hope that me getting into [the Academy] … opens doors for more cadets in our program to try and get into it . I know some of our juniors are excelling well in there. I hope people see that it is actually attainable.”