Only 10 percent of all applicants to the United States Air Force Academy received appointments to join the class of 2018.
Pekin Community High School graduate Max Turner was one of only 1,300 applicants to receive a coveted appointment and his attendance in the fall will be the realization of a decade-old dream.
Turner said that he has known that he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy ever since he found out it existed at the age of 9.
“Little nine-year-old me thought it was so awesome,” Turner said. “It was like college but it was an Air Force thing too.”
This dream stuck with Turner through the years and when it came time to start the application last summer there was no hesitation on his part, despite other opportunities.
“Max was accepted to the engineering program at U of I and he did talk to several of the football coaches at local colleges,” Max Turner’s mother Shelley Turner said. “Through all of that, he continued to say, ‘I want to go to the Academy.’”
Max Turner said the Air Force Academy stood out to him because of its strong academics it provides and the opportunity to serve his country.
“When I was looking around, I started to compare the Academy to some other colleges and I was looking to see what the differences were,” Max Turner said. “Being able to receive a higher-class education while serving is something that was incomparable anywhere else.”
In order to be considered for admission, applicants must obtain a nomination from at least one U.S. congressman. Max Turner received nominations from both U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos.
Max Turner was involved in multiple activities at PCHS, including football, track and band.
“It didn’t matter if it was on the field, in band or in the classroom, Max is the kind of kid that always took a leadership role,” PCHS Assistant Principal Joel Schmieg said.
Max Turner will be joining his father, 27-year serviceman Chief Master Sergeant Douglas Turner, in Air Force service.
“When he graduates his dad will have to salute him and he will be happy to do so,” Shelley Turner said. “There is a certain sense of pride when you see your kid realize their dream.”
Max Turner will be pursuing a pre-medical degree with hopes of becoming an Air Force surgeon.