Ashley Nau and her twin sister Courtney Nau are both hoping for careers as officers in the U.S. Navy. And they have made significant progress toward their goal by being among the first class to graduate from the Military Academy at Hollywood Hills High School. This fall they will attend Norwich University and will participate in the Navy ROTC program there.

“I liked the structure and the higher level of academics offered by the Military Academy,” said Ashley Nau. She was the Cadet Captain during her senior year and before that was a Battalion Logistics Officer. “I learned about leadership and I was responsible for handling all clothing items involved with the Military Academy.”

Courtney Nau also believes the Military Academy was a positive experience. She was a Cadet First Lieutenant. “I liked the structure of the Military Academy. I learned to lead by example. I enjoyed being a part of the Raiders program and I liked the drill exercises we did. I hope to have a career in the Navy,” she said.

Victor Bravo believes the program has benefited him. He was a First Sergeant and believes the Military Academy taught him how to be an effective leader. “I have learned how to be a true leader. I learned how to get people’s attention and to always be straight forward. I hope to play professional soccer and eventually become a doctor,” said Bravo.

Desiree Maxwell was a First Lieutenant. “I learned many life lessons and how to work with other people. I liked the classes offered here,” she said.

Narvin Williams was a Lieutenant Colonel. “I learned how to be a good leader in this program. I become more confident and learned how to make good decisions,” he said.

There are now 233 cadets in the Military Academy at Hollywood Hills High School. It is a magnet program and the cadets come from all over Broward County. There will be 70 cadets graduating in the first class of 2016. Of that number 60 participated for four years. The students participate in formations and military exercises and hold military ranks. They also participate in the Raiders program which involves physical training and athletics. And they are expected to complete honors and advanced placement level classes. Many of the classes are taught be teachers who are involved in the Military Academy. However, students may have to join advanced placement classes offered in the regular high school. Many of the students join the Military Academy because they life the structure it offers and the high level of academic challenge.

“This gives students a good foundation for the rest of their life,” said Barbara Oropesa, magnet coordinator for Hollywood Hills High School.