Jonathan Dombrowski, who will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, said that the leadership opportunities and experiences provided him by the Boy Scouts, including his work on Adena Mansion & Gardens’ flag pole pictured behind Dombrowski that was his Eagle Scout project, were key in preparing him for his future.
CHILLICOTHE — Jonathan Dombrowski is making his mark through a series of patriotic gestures.
Last year, the Chillicothe teen oversaw the installation of a flagpole at Adena Mansion & Gardens as his Eagle Scout project. This summer, he’ll begin basic training as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the beginning of a commitment to the military that will includes a five-year activeduty service obligation following his graduation.
Born in Michigan, the 17-year-old moved with his family to Chillicothe from Wilmington, North Carolina, a little more than three years ago. He brought with him a passion for the military.
“My dad was in the Marine Corps, and both of my grandfathers were in the Navy, so ever since I was little, I wanted to be in the military. That’s what I always had a desire to do,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski will not be the first member of his family to attend a service academy. His father, Michael, graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.
“I didn’t even know about the service academies until I was probably 12 or 13 years old. I heard about them and thought, ‘Wow, that’s a great way to do what I always wanted to do — become a military officer,’ ” he said. “It’s a great way to get your commission and college degree taken care of.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers nominated Dombrowski for admission to West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He ultimately was not accepted to the Naval Academy but jumped at chance to attend West Point.
“The atmosphere there is interesting because it’s very rigorous, military lifestyle. You’re always doing drills and you live in barracks and have superiors,” he said. “At the same time there is a sense of camaraderie, and (cadets) enjoy completing tasks together. It’s very task-focused, but they have a lot of fun.”
Dombrowski said he’s unsure whether his service will continue beyond his five-year obligation.
“After that, I’m not entirely sure. We’ll have to see,” he said. “I may really enjoy it and decide I want to make a career out of it, or I may go pursue some other field.”
Dombrowski plans to study international relations at West Point.
Unlike a majority of West Point cadets, Dombrowski received his education at home rather than at a public or private school.
“The military academy will tell you that home-schooled applicants make up an increasing number of their total number of applicants each year. More and more people are applying and with that, people like myself are receiving appointments,” he said.
For Dombrowski, the home-school experience has been a positive one.
“A lot of people think you’re missing out on opportunities when you’re home-schooled, things like athletics, extracurricular activities and even social interactions, but in my experience that’s not been the case,” he said. “I’ve been on the swim team at the YMCA. My younger brother plays football for Unioto High School. … I’m an Eagle Scout, which gives me leadership opportunities, and I’ve done volunteer community service.”
Dombrowski’s Eagle Scout project, the installation of the flagpole outside the Adena Mansion visitors center, put him in a leadership role as he raised a majority of the fundingfor it and directed a group of volunteers who helped set it in the ground. This year, his brother Daniel followed up by overseeing the construction of a small stone wall around the pole and the installation of lights that will allow the flag to fly at night.
“I think scouting has been one of the most fundamental steps that’s prepared me for West Point and for my future in general,” he said. “The Scout oath and law instills core values that are very similar to the values of the military.”