BULLHEAD CITY — Sometimes the actions of children bring their parents to tears.
Most would probably agree that Chris Boggs and Anthony Rusk have done so in the most desirable way.
The two 2017 Mohave High School graduates have been recognized for their academic excellence. Rusk is Mohave’s first winner of a Flinn Scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition and room and board at any of Arizona’s three public universities. The scholarship is valued at more than $115,000.
Boggs has received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. About 1,000 cadets enter the academy each year, and the process for securing an appointment includes three essays, two interviews, a physical fitness test, a medical exam and a nomination from a member of Congress, in most cases.
Boggs and Rusk tell a similar story: Each got the news (Rusk from a phone call and Boggs in a large black envelope), then shared it with loved ones, who then cried.
Boggs said he actually shared the news with the mail carrier first, immediately after seeing the envelope.
“I said, ‘I just got accepted to West Point,’” he recalled.
He quickly reached out to his parents, each of whom was soon in tears.
Rusk’s father died at about the time he learned about the Flinn Scholarship. He said he was sitting alone in a coffee shop when the call came from the Flinn Foundation.
Ruck immediately called his mother, who started crying, as did an aunt.
“They needed to hear some good news,” Rusk said.
Rusk will attend the University of Arizona, where he plans to study neuroscience and economics. The Flinn Scholarship includes a three-week summer seminar in China following his freshman year, and at least one additional study-abroad experience in a country of his choosing.
He’s thinking about Europe.
“Spain or London would be nice,” he said.
Boggs will major in English, encompassing art, literature and philosophy. After graduation, he would be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.
Both Rusk and Boggs want to continue their education by taking postgraduate courses at the University of Oxford in England.
Each said he’s proud of the other, because he knows how much hard work it took to reach his goal.
“He’s one of my closest friends,” Boggs said of Rusk. After he learned of his appointment, Rusk and another friend were the ones he celebrated with that night.
“Funny how your friends can motivate you (in the wrong direction) or inspire you to be the best version of yourself.”
In getting into West Point, Boggs accomplished a goal he set his eyes on in sixth grade. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar provided the nomination. Boggs said that he became stressed as the January-through-April window grew shorter and he still hadn’t heard from the Academy.
“Having people ask, ‘hey, what’s the latest on the Academy’ every day,” he said. That became stressful.
His wait ended April 1.
Rusk was among more than 750 applicants to the Flinn Scholars program. Only 20 slots are available each year, meaning just under 2.7 percent were selected.
Each hopes put to rest what they called negative stigmas attatched to Mohave High.
“I know that a lot of younger students think that location is a disadvantage,” Rusk said. “Being at Mohave doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things.”
He credits honors English teacher Kevin Greene, former MHS math teacher Jane Sloan and others for helping him reach this point.
Greene and art teacher Mark Anderson were among those Boggs named.
The accolades the pair accepted only tell part of the story. Rusk earned admission to Johns Hopkins University and Arizona State University and places on wait lists at New York University and the University of Chicago.
Boggs also sought an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and was accepted to Arizona State and Northern Arizona University.
The two were among five valedictorians Saturday at MHS’ graduation ceremony. More than 75 members of the Class of 2017 earned scholarships, grants and stipends totalling more than $3.4 million, district spokesman Lance Ross said.