CHATHAM, NJ - At the senior awards ceremony on June 3rd, hundreds of parents, teachers, and students stood up to applaud Chatham High School senior Paul Malatesta as he was recognized on stage for his postgraduate commitment to the United States Armed Services.

Malatesta made the decision to apply for undergraduate admission to the United States Naval Academy prior to his senior year, submitting all of the necessary application paperwork over the summer.

“It made me glad I did all of my paperwork over the summer,” Malatesta said. “The earlier you get your stuff in, the more they like you.”

Sign Up for E-News

Of the 19,145 students who applied to the United States Naval Academy for admission in Fall 2017, a mere 1,462 were admitted. Malatesta was among the select 13 percent of students granted admission into the prestigious university.

However, Malatesta is no ordinary accepted student at USNA: he was the first applicant in the state of New Jersey to receive a letter of acceptance from the academy. Given the competitiveness of entry into USNA, the Chatham community was awed by Malatesta’s incredible feat. The high school gymnasium erupted into applause as parents, students, and staff honored him with the sole standing ovation of the event.

Malatesta determined he would attend USNA early in the college decision making process.

“I was at other college information sessions and they kept pointing out how much their graduates make, and I realized that I wanted a career post college that was about more than making money,” Malatesta said. “Also I'm into engineering and fitness, and USNA is good for both.”

Malatesta was also recognized by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen in March at the Montville Public Library for his decision to attend the Naval Academy. Fellow Chatham High School seniors, Caroline Duemling and Jimmy Coyne, were also honored at the event.

Malatesta plans to major in aerospace engineering and minoring in Mandarin at the Naval Academy. Following his education, he hopes to choose piloting for either the Navy or Marines as his postgraduate service section.