When he was still at Beaufort High School, Connor Murphy spoke with a Naval Academy student and wondered if he would make it into the elite military college.
This week, Murphy sat on the other side of the table.
The midshipman is in his third year at the academy in Annapolis, Md., and visited northern Beaufort County high schools this week to answer questions about the college.
Murphy was at Beaufort High School on Tuesday to discuss what students could study at the academy. He also explained how to apply -- a nomination from a member of Congress, a medical and fitness exam, and an interview are required.
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Murphy was back in Beaufort as part of "Operation: Information." After Thanksgiving, some Naval Academy students get the word out about the college in their hometowns. Murphy and Doug Ogden, a Naval Academy alumnus, planned visits to Beaufort High, Battery Creek High School, Beaufort Academy and Thomas Heyward Academy. Murphy said he had spoken to about 20 students during the first two visits.
"Just be honest and be yourself," Murphy told Beaufort High senior Emani Alston, who is applying to the academy and wanted tips for an upcoming interview.
Ogden, who interviews applicants as a local Blue and Gold Officer, said admission is difficult -- only about 1,200 of the 17,000 students who applied were accepted to this year's freshman class.
Although the course work is challenging and his days are regimented -- breakfast, classes, activities and study time adhere to a strict schedule, and free time is limited even on the weekends -- Murphy said the academy was right for him. After he graduates, he plans to become a surface-warfare officer; he'll oversee a Navy ship and its crew. He looks forward to experiencing the old slogan, "Join the Navy, see the world."
And he said he has made lifelong friends at the academy. Ogden concurred. He just attended his 45th reunion and said his classmates have been his best friends for life.
"You all have a similar experience," Murphy said. "You become a very close group, and that friendship lasts forever."