Chapin, SC – Students graduating from School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties are prepared for success. Some decide to place service above all else by joining the United States Armed Forces. Chapin High School alumnus Matteo Macaluso followed his dream of serving in the United States Navy by attending college at the Naval Academy. He is currently in his junior year majoring in Economics, and is planning on working in Surface Warfare following graduation.
“I’m very fortunate to be at the Naval Academy, and it’s an honor to represent Chapin High School there day in and day out,” said Macaluso.
Macaluso attributes his preparedness for the Naval Academy to his many leadership roles at Chapin High School. He was Student Body President, Navy JROTC Commanding Officer, Football Team Captain, and Lacrosse Team Captain. By becoming a Surface Warfare Officer after graduation, he looks forward to the challenge of leading sailors and learning from those whom he leads. Macaluso explained, “At the Naval Academy becoming Naval Officers, or future Officers in the military in general, leadership is the key and that was something I got fully integrated in my high school career.”
Chapin High School Principal Dr. Akil Ross said, “The Chapin Community is so proud of Matteo because of the positive impact he has made and continues to make on our school. Mr. Macaluso is a proven leader, who is admired by his teachers and peers.”
Every year, Macaluso visits Chapin High School to speak with students interested in attending the Naval Academy and to offer support from someone who went through the same steps just a few years earlier. He visited Colonel Richard Slack’s Navy JROTC class and spoke about his experiences at the Naval Academy. Students asked him about classes, uniforms, and advice for applications.
The Naval Academy is heavily focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors. No matter what major students choose, all graduate with a bachelor of science degree due to the core classes’ STEM focus. Naval Academy graduates serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps after graduation. While it is more structured than a traditional college experience, Macaluso advised, “For me, I’ve always looked at it as we give up a little freedom to then go out and defend freedom.”
Macaluso noted his biggest influences at Chapin High School were Navy JROTC leaders Colonel Richard Slack and Senior Chief Charles Cook. Once he knew he wanted to attend the Naval Academy, they gave him the confidence to set forth towards his future career. Macaluso said, “The example of Senior Chief Cook and Colonel Slack, two men that have done their service both in the Marine Corps and in the Navy that are giving back to the kids here, without them I don’t know if I’d be where I am right now as far as the guidance and the help and the role model they gave me for my four years here.”
Macaluso describes his college experience in one word, “awesome”, and hopes to inspire students to follow a similar path of service. Colonel Slack added, “America has a great future with young adults like Matteo.”