"Being first alternate means West Point Military Academy will look at my file. I hadn't really thought of West Point, but I was recruited by the golf coach. The school has Division One athletics and it's become my first choice for college," Freeman said.
It costs approximately $380,000 to attend West Point for four years and Uncle Sam picks up the tab. Since the U.S. government pays the entire bill, Freeman will have a five-year commitment to the armed services. He would earn his bachelor's degree and come out of the academy as a second lieutenant.
Freeman's father, uncle and grandfather were all in the Army and that would be his branch of service choice. Besides the heritage factor, he said West Point's training is geared toward the Army, so if he chose another branch of service, he would have to attend more classes.
"Chemistry is my favorite subject, so I would try that as my major. It's tough though, so I might have to change. West Point doesn't have a business major and I would like to incorporate both of those to get my Master's of Business Administration and work in bio-chemistry for Pfizer or Eli Lilly," Freeman said.
Barry University in Miami, Fla. does have both majors and has offered him a $12,000 academic scholarship. The golf coach there is also actively recruiting him, offering to give him an additional $9,000 in an athletic scholarship. The total cost is $25,000 per year.
Even though West Point is Freeman's first choice, he must have alternatives.
"West Point won't let me know if I've been accepted until sometime between January and May. The second cutoff for signing of athletic scholarships is from February to March, I believe. So the sooner I find out the better," he said.
He explained that his golf scholarship from Barry might be drastically reduced if he were to hold out too long.
"I believe I'm their first choice, but I know they have others lined up. If I were to wait, the money I would have received would be passed along to the others and I would receive the portion that would have gone to one of the other guys," Freeman said.
He added that if he held out to hear from West Point and missed out on the golf scholarship from Barry, he would attend Indiana University or Purdue University for a year until he was eligible for the next year's athletic scholarship.
The NHS senior has a 70 golf average at Forest Park Golf Course and a 3.75 grade point average.
"I'm not naive. I don't really want to play professional golf and I won't sacrifice my education to play college athletics if the program doesn't live up to my educational standards," Freeman said.
He said his junior advanced English teacher, Mrs. Kelly Welton, helped him to realize that he needed to apply himself to his studies.
"As a freshman golfer, I was really good. But my grades weren't as good. Mrs. Welton made me understand that my education was more important. Something could happen to my health tomorrow and I might not be able to play golf, so I began focusing on my studies," Freeman said.
He thanked other Northview teachers as well.
"Mrs. (Gina) Crooks has been very willing to write several letters of recommendation to colleges for me. And if it weren't for Mr. (Jon) Crooks taking his own time to give me the required Physical Aptitude Test (which can be administered only by licensed physical education teachers), I couldn't have even applied to West Point. Also Mrs. (Rachel) Sparks, my chemistry teacher, has helped me tremendously with my independent study during third-year chemistry," Freeman said.
He is also involved in several clubs at NHS. Freeman is president of National Honor Society, vice president of Business Club, and a member of Business Professionals of America, Science Researchers Club, Excaliburs (a group of NHS students that greet visitors and arrange tours of the school) and Peers Educating Peers (high school students educating middle school students on the importance of sexual abstinence).
Freeman was nominated as first alternate to the U.S. Military and Air Force academies by Indiana's 7th District Congressman, Brian Kerns.
"In addition to providing an excellent education in the core subjects, our nation's military academies offer a unique experience by calling for the graduates to serve in the armed forces. Clearly, both the individual student and our country benefit from this opportunity. Here in the 7th District, we were again fortunate to have a pool of qualified and gifted students to select from. I commend all of those who have applied and congratulate the students whom we have chosen to represent us at the academies," Kerns said.
Kerns initially asked interested students to complete a comprehensive application. Applicants then appeared before the 7th District Service Academy Screening Committee for individual interviews. The screening committee is comprised of a diverse group of community leaders, former military officers and educators from throughout the district. After completing the interviews, the screening committee made its nominee recommendations to Kerns. Congressman Kerns than made his nomination selections.
After a candidate receives a Congressional nomination, an academic admissions board from the academy evaluates each prospective appointee. Students must also undergo a physical fitness test and medical examination and meet eligibility requirements as established by the academies.
By accepting an academy appointment, a student enters a four-year program where he or she will receive military instruction, leadership training and an education in the core subjects. Upon graduating, students are committed to serving as an officer in their military branch of training.