Annalise Callaghan, a senior at Northland Pines High School, has accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Callaghan is the first Northland Pines student to accept an offer to attend West Point.

Col. Tim Sheridan, military academy liaison for the Wisconsin 7th Congressional District, was at the Northland Pines seniors awards program last Monday night to present Callaghan a $300,000 scholarship to attend West Point, located in West Point, N.Y.

“I’m honored to present a scholarship award to Annalise Callaghan for her merits that she accomplished in high school. She received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point with a scholarship of $300,000. With additional training opportunities, it’s actually a $400,000 scholarship,” said Sheridan.

“Annalise is one of the top students in the state and is one of the first students in the state to receive an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.”

Sheridan said about 13,000 students apply to attend West Point each year and there are about 1,150 in a class, resulting in an 8% acceptance rate.

“Every year we are lucky to have one from the 7th District. This year we have two, one from Wausau and one from Northland Pines. On average, the state of Wisconsin sends about 20 young men and women each year to West Point and by regulation they are only alloted 10 (eight congressmen and two senators in the district).”

Sheridan said additional Wisconsin students get accepted because they perform well on a national wait list to the academy.

“West Point looks for young leaders of character and integrity, along with extracurricular activities and scholarship with regard to athletics and leadership positions within student body government and clubs,” said Sheridan. 

“What Annalise highlighted was exemplary with all of her accomplishments here at Northland Pines,” said Sheridan. “Both her personality and her extraordinary accomplishments came across in the interview. I normally don’t see the amount of work she went into and the detail of what she has accomplished here at Northland Pines. Her GPA, her test scores were outstanding. She was by far one of the best interviews I have had in the last five or six years.”

Every graduate at West Point has a five-year obligation on active duty and a three-year obligation either in the Reserves or the Individual Ready Reserves. 

Military family

Callaghan said she chose West Point due to a family connection with military service.

“I have a lot of family who have been in the military. My great-grandfather fought in the South Pacific during World War II, my grandfather served during Vietnam and my uncle served during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Callaghan. “Essentially, if I were going into the military I would be the first female veteran in the family, which is a unique aspect.”

Callaghan also had a special connection with veterans. Early in her high school career, Callaghan began as a student ambassador for the national World War II museum in New Orleans.

“Basically you find World War II veterans who were on the war front during that period and conduct interviews with them, and the oral histories become part of the archive for future generations when there comes a time we can no longer speak with World War II veterans,” said Callaghan.

“Listening to their stories was an amazing history experience, but you also got to hear a lot of stories about their resilience and commitment. For example, I talked to a guy who was a captain during the Battle of the Bulge, another who flew a B-24 on

D-Day. There are a lot of really amazing stories from people from the North Woods and from the U.P., a lot of different community members that I got to interact with.”

Between her family and her own experiences with veterans, Callaghan took an interest in the military.

“I was accepted at two Ivy League schools and I got near full-ride scholarships from them, but ultimately service is really my passion and has been for a very long time,” said Callaghan. “West Point was the epitome of service to my country. It was really an amazing opportunity. It’s all of the academic opportunity, plus the opportunity to serve on the national and international level, which is important.”

Callaghan said she plans to double major in law and legal studies, and international affairs. Also, most graduates of West Point are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. 

Support at Pines

Callaghan, of Eagle River, said Northland Pines prepared her well for the next stage of her life. 

“Northland Pines has been very supportive not only in the opportunities that are available here but in some of the different endeavors they’ve taken on to create more opportunities for students at Northland Pines. For instance, National History Day was the way through which I found out about the World War II ambassadorship.”

Callaghan also serves as state president of HOSA — Future Health Professionals.

“I had the opportunity to serve as the state president for the organization and that allows me to create opportunities for students, particularly in the northern half of the state.” 

Callaghan, the daughter of Michelle Livingston and David Callaghan, also has been involved in Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy speaking contest and high school athletics, including track and field, and cross-country.

“It’s been very busy, but all has been very fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world,” said Callaghan.