It was a special moment during the second quarter of the Army-Navy game presented by USAA in Foxborough, Mass, when high school best friends Renee Vozza and Mary Claire Schleck were reunited. Renee went Navy; Claire went Army, but both young women elected to serve their country.
Mary Claire and Renee attended Mount St. Mary Academy in Watchung, New Jersey, where they were fast friends. "The last time I saw Renee was June 25," Mary Claire said. "It was the day before my R-Day." R-Day, or Reception Day, is the day cadet candidates report to West Point to begin their in-processing for their 47-month experience.
Renee said, "We came to the game last year together with her family in Philly, and we've been talking about seeing each other here since the last Army-Navy game." Mary Claire agreed, adding, "We have been thinking about this moment for a year."
When asked why she decided to go Army, Mary Claire shared, "I feel a call to serve my country and there is no better way than joining the military. I wanted to find a way to fulfill my potential. I've been surrounded by the Army my entire life - my dad went to West Point." Renee explained her desire to attend USNA: "I'm first generation military. I've been going to the Naval Academy every year since I was in 5th grade for a lacrosse tournament. I grew up around Midshipmen and I was so inspired by them. I wanted to be like them, and I wanted to give back to my country." When I asked her if she played lacrosse, she laughed and said, "I do not play lacrosse, but I'm actually on the crew team!" Renee hasn't made up her mind about what to do after graduation (they're only in their first year!) but said she's open to anything. "Right now, if someone were to ask me, I'd probably say subs or Marine Corps." Mary Claire hopes to go to medical school following graduation and continue her service through medicine.
As are all appointees to the service academies, both Renee and Mary Claire are very impressive women.
When Renee received her appointment to the Naval Academy, Elizabeth A. Roper, Director of College Counseling at Mount Saint Mary, said in a press release, “Renee is the type of young woman that when she sets a goal, she works hard to achieve it. She does so with independence, determination, and ability that is admirable; she does so with humility and knowing that she has family, friends, teachers, coaches, and mentors to support her and offer their insight. Renee is an effective leader among the student body and on her teams, while also being a valued and respected teammate. Her sense of duty, her commitment to protect and serve, her ability to lead, and her motivating energy among her peers will allow her to be an asset to the USNA, as she has been and will continue to be in the Mount community.”
In a separate press release, Roper had this to say about Claire upon receiving her appointment to West Point: “Claire is a tremendous leader, team member, student and community member. She is equally confident and humble, with a generosity and grace that is respected and admired on the soccer field, on the basketball court, in the classroom, and at her lunch table. Claire is a role model and has influenced many; it is an honor to celebrate her and her future.”
We are so glad we got to see these besties reunited. Bravo ladies. Thank you for being Mighty!