Swanton native Julia Horton will be following in the dedicated footsteps of her father Sean Horton and grandfather, beginning her life as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis this week for Plebe Summer.
And on Tuesday as the world wakes up, the Hortons will already be on their way down to Annapolis, Maryland to drop the newest recruit off at her new home.
“They have this saying in the military, that you have to do something bigger than yourself,” Horton said. “You have to have people in life who are dedicated and willing to serve. That respect for honor and sacrifice needs to carry on, and that’s what I’m doing.”
As a junior in high school Horton completed the naval Summer Seminar which was when she felt the pull of tradition and her natural knack for success in the service.
“That was when I was really convinced,” Horton said. “You see all these kids who have these really strong bonds with one another…the teamwork, the leadership opportunities. I could see myself there, with them…And now that I’m going into the naval academy, the tradition lives on.”
After graduating from Mississquoi Valley Union High School in 2020, Julia Horton attended co-educational boarding school Peddie School in New Jersey where she spent a year preparing for her new career as a midshipman with the help of the naval Foundation program.
And while she was born in Burlington, Julia was raised on the action-packed stories of life overseas, and dreamed of the far and vast lands that her father visited during his time in the Navy.
“My dad was stationed in Maine, so my sister was born there,” Horton said. “Then he was stationed in Iceland, and my dad has travelled all over. He went to Africa, he went to Brazil…and that’s something I’m really looking forward to, is the travel.”
This summer, Horton will be sacrificing her phone and connection with her friends back home to enter basic training in a brand new room with a brand new family for the next four years of her life.
But after she graduates, cast your eyes to the sky: Horton said she’s hoping for her pilot’s license in the navy, and that she will one day be piloting a naval fighter pilot.
“My dad definitely inspired me to take this route,” Horton said. “There’s just something I’ve always admired about service, and serving your country. And my dad was a pilot, and I think that’s what I want to do, too.”
St. Albans Town residents may have seen Horton this summer running through the streets training her mind, her heart and her body for her greatest challenge yet.
But she won’t be gone forever, she says.
“Vemont will always be home,” Horton said. “And when I’m finished, whenever that is, I’m definitely coming back home.”
The United States Naval Academy
Horton was one of 1,200 candidates chosen out of 16,000 applications for the Naval Academy’s class of 2025 and will spend the next few months in Plebe Summer, where she will learn basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing, handing yard patrol craft, infantry drill and how to shoot both nine-millimeter pistols and M-16 rifles, according to a release from the Naval Academy.