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Choctawhatchee High School student athlete Bailey Gable earns Naval Academy appointment

Naval Academy-bound Bailey Gable reflects on lessons learned at Choctawhatchee High School
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Bailey Gable, a graduating senior at Choctawhatchee High School, has earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy after receiving a nomination from Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gable, who has lived in the same house in Shalimar her entire life, credits her success to the support of her parents, community and the lessons she learned as a student athlete. 

  • Throughout her high school career, Gable participated in indoor and beach volleyball, girls weightlifting, and eight extracurricular clubs.

“I think that sports has taught me everything I know about leading and not necessarily just the sport itself, but the people that I got to interact with as a result of being involved in the sport,” Gable said. “It’s been so huge for me in my development.”

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Gable’s athletic achievements include placing sixth in the state for weightlifting and earning the Best All Around Athlete award her junior year and Most Valuable Player her senior year for volleyball. She was also involved in student government, class office, inter-club council, global perspectives, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Key Club, Science Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society.

Managing her time between academics, sports, and extracurricular activities was challenging but rewarding for Gable. 

  • “It was a lot of late nights, but a lot of time management and a lot of sacrifice,” she explained. “I can’t make it to this thing today, so I’ll have to make it next week…things like that.”

To begin her journey to the Naval Academy, Gable reached out to graduates from Niceville High School who were attending the Air Force Academy to gain insight into the application process. She also extensively researched the Naval Academy website to familiarize herself with the required steps and checklist.

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A pivotal moment in Gable’s decision to pursue the Naval Academy was attending the institution’s summer seminar in June. This week-long experience provided her with a firsthand look at the life of a midshipman, participating in activities such as physical training and other aspects of student life. 

  • “It was really great to see the life of a midshipman,” Gable said. “And I just fell in love with it.”

To secure a nomination, an essential component of the application process, Gable submitted her application packet in November. She then underwent a rigorous interview process before a panel of six individuals. “They had some really thought-provoking questions that I was definitely not prepared for,” Gable recalled.

Gable navigated the Naval Academy application process independently, relying on the support of her parents, community and the resources available on the academy’s website.

“I would say I was pretty independent, but there was so much help from our community, especially the people at Choctaw. So I never really felt like I was on my own,” Gable said.

As she prepares to graduate on Thursday night and begin her journey at the Naval Academy, Gable offers advice to her underclassmen: 

  • “The biggest thing is realizing that nothing you go through is ever about you. Any hardship that you face, it’s not necessarily about how it affects you, but it’s about how it teaches you, what it teaches you and how you can use that to help the next person.”

Gable plans to pursue a career in naval aviation and is excited for the opportunities that await her at the Naval Academy.

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