Philadelphia High’s Griffin nominated to Naval Academy

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A Philadelphia High School senior recently became the first female and African-American to receive a service academy nomination in Philadelphia High School history. 

Talease Griffin, 18, received a nomination to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in December from U.S. Rep. Michael Guest and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

She is well-respected as a leader by her principal, teachers, peers, church members, and community leaders. 

Griffin will not receive a confirmation on if she’ll be attending the academy until March or April of this year. 

She said she felt a lot of emotions when she received the nominations. She was very excited, but also nervous and knew she would be under a lot of pressure.

“You only need one nomination, and getting two was incredibly unexpected. This is something really important to me and I feel like the academy will teach me the right skill set and help me become the person I want to be,” Griffin said. 

Qualifications for getting into the Annapolis Naval Academy are touring the campus, getting really good grades, high SAT / ACT scores, and ranking highly in classes. Further requirements include participating in athletics, community service, and demonstrating leadership qualities. 

The academy’s curriculum includes requirements in engineering, natural sciences, and the humanities and social sciences to ensure graduates can think critically. 

It also requires core academic courses and practical training to teach the leadership and professional skills required of Navy and Marine Corps officers.  

Griffin is a member of Jerusalem Temple Church in Philadelphia and was raised by her grandparents, Lorenzo and Mary Griffin. 

She took on the responsibility of caring for her grandfather each morning for a little over a year to treat his diabetes and a sore on his foot. He also has bones that would break and heal incorrectly, causing his foot to be oddly shaped. 

She said changing the bandages was a gruesome sight to see and the rest of her family couldn’t handle it, leaving her to be the one to step up. Since she did, her grandfather’s foot is cleaned and he’s moving normally again. 

Griffin was also vice president of the Mississippi Beta Club, and her goal was not to win but to inspire those in the club to think far beyond just arts and crafts. She saw that Philadelphia High had only been winning in the arts and crafts category at the state convention, and she wanted the school to be on stage and winning a variety of awards.  

To add to her list of accomplishments, Griffin is also team captain of the a Bible Bow team, and one of her most important contributions was setting a great example of what a leader was. She not only had to know her strengths and weaknesses but also the strengths and weaknesses of her team. She strived during each practice and competition to always smile, speak freely and boldly, and never lower her head. This encouraged the team to do the same. 

During Griffin’s junior year of high school, she was selected to be a part of Leadership Neshoba, an organization designed to help juniors with knowing their potential and being involved in the community. 

Griffin was chosen along with only 23 other juniors, and they went on to do things like visit nursing and assisted living homes, making things like cards, songs, food, and even read books to them. The process was cut short because of COVID. 

She said the Naval Academy is a place she feels she can focus on her studies and service at the same time. 

“I’ve always wanted to serve, but I’ve also wanted to get my bachelor’s and further my education,” she said. “At the academy, they’ll provide an environment where I can do both and that’s perfect for me.”

One of Griffin’s main goals in high school was to set an example for the other students and young people in her community and allow them to understand the importance of academics, and learn how to make plans and go for it. 

“My mother, Constance Griffin, has been one of my biggest supporters through this. I believe she’s more excited than I am,” she said. “Her encouragement has been so helpful throughout this process.”


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