Dedication and sense of service takes Sparta grad to Coast Guard Academy

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    SPARTA-Dennis Stenkamp, an 18-year-old Sparta High School senior, is soaring through life. And now his strong will and determination is taking him to the halls were military leaders are made. Stenkamp, who is an Eagle Scout, an athlete and a student with a 4.0 grade average, was accepted to West Point Military Academy, the Air Force Academy and the Coast Guard Academy. The Sparta resident selected the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT and leaves June 27 for his four year schooling. His future aspirations are to attend military flight school in Pensecola, FL, where only the top two percent of applicants are accepted. It was his sense of service to others that motivated Stenkamp to choose the Coast Guard Academy over the other military schools. "I like the humanitarian mission the Coast Guard encourages. The goal is to save lives versus kill them," explained Stenkamp. Prior to making his decision, Stenkamp had the opportunity to immerse himself into the atmosphere of each school by spending up to a week by attending classes, living in the dorms, and getting to know other students. While in high school, Stenkamp maintained a perfect grade point average, yet still had time to be on the track, cross country and winter track teams. During his freshman and sophomore years, he competed on the school's ski team. In addition, for the past four years Stenkamp has been a member of the Skihawks, the official waterski show team of New Jersey that is based in Lake Mohawk. In 2002, his team placed first in the Northeastern Regional Competition. Stenkamp is also a dedicated Eagle Scout. He has been a part of Scouting since he was five years old. On June 11 he will honored in a Court of Honor Ceremony for his 13 years of Scouting. "Only two percent of all kids who join Cub Scouts become Eagle Scouts," said Stenkamp. "It's a lot of hard work which includes earning merit badges holding a leadership position within the troop, and planning and carrying out a service project." Dreams of flying run in the Stenkamp family. Dennis' mother is a pilot and his father is a retired military helicopter pilot. "Dennis has been flying with me for years," said Ute Stenkamp, Dennis' mother. "I am very happy he wants to fly and that we share the same interest. I'm very proud of him and happy for him to be going to school and choosing what he wants to do."