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TOPS student Jacob Branum goes through intense physical training with other NASS candidates

Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) rising senior, Jacob Branum, has always enjoyed a good challenge, both inside and outside of the classroom. This summer, Jacob had the opportunity to put himself to the test at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS), a highly prestigious and selective program for potential cadets.

“This was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Jacob, a student from Houston, said. “The Academy challenges you mentally and physically, and if you are not strong enough, you won’t make it. But I like that, because I think it shows me what I’m made of and how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.”

NASS, located in Annapolis, allowed Jacob to learn about the Naval Academy and to participate in extremely intense physical training. Here are some highlights of the four day seminar:

June 5th: Jacob and other candidates took a physical fitness assessment, requiring them to complete a one mile run, two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups, a shuttle run, one minute of pull-ups, and a basketball throw. Jacob said that these activities are completed until time is up, or until muscle failure — whichever comes first!

June 6th-7th: Candidates completed morning workouts, attended classes, and learned about the Academy from a sophomore Naval Academy instructor. Classes include ocean navigation, fundamentals of leadership, and damage control, to name a few.

June 8th: A day full of intense sea trials, including SEAL Introduction and an obstacle course. Candidates also had the option to line up to be drilled by sophomores at the Academy.

Similar to his summer experience with the Academy, Jacob works tirelessly to make every academic obstacle at TOPS an opportunity for success. He truly enjoys the online environment that TOPS offers.

“I believe there are more opportunities for success in online school,” Jacob said. “The schoolwork is challenging and, at times, very difficult. However, if I did not understand something my teachers were always willing to help me. My teachers are phenomenal and are able to explain the curriculum very well.”

Jacob will continue to excel and face challenges head-on at TOPS next school year. After this seminar, Jacob has decided that the Naval Academy is the right fit for him, and hopes to attend after graduation.

Jacob (bottom left) and fellow candidates share smiles at NASS

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