Aidan Neenan, seen here at the HF-L Athletic Awards last week, has received an appointment to the Naval Academy. Photo by Donna MacKenzie

Perhaps a first clue that Aidan Neenan might eventually go into the military service was Neenan portraying the Eagle in the Manor School second-grade production for Flag Day. Although that idea seems far-fetched, what is not is that Neenan will be going into the military.

Neenan, the son of Laura and Brian Neenan, received an appointment to the Naval Academy and reports to the Academy on June 27, the same day that his Honeoye Falls-Lima classmates are scheduled to graduate during a ceremony for the HF-L Class of 2024 at Rochester Institute of Technology. His decision to apply to the Academy came as a result of several factors.

“I’ve always had a fascination with the Navy,” said Neenan during an interview last week. “My great-grandfather Edwin Earl Dechau served in the Navy. Last spring, I was talking with some of my high school coaches and that also planted the seed. Then, last summer my dad and I went to Philadelphia for a baseball tournament that I was playing in. During an off-day, my dad and I drove down to Annapolis. I got to see the Academy and all its history. Its motto Honor, Courage, Commitment, really resonated with me. The next day, I asked my dad if we could go back to the Academy and that second visit cemented my desire to apply.”

There are many steps in the process of applying for admission to the Naval Academy. Not only is there an application, but Neenan also had to pass a physical fitness test and, most importantly, secure a nomination for the Academy from his Congressman Joe Morelle, which he received. During the process of applying to the Naval Academy and securing the Congressional nomination, Neenan looked at and applied for admission to the Coast Guard Academy as well. He was also accepted at the Coast Guard Academy. He will likely major in either political science or mechanical engineering.

Prior to his decision to pursue admission to either the Naval or Coast Guard Academies, Neenan was seriously considering either Hobart or Monroe Community College.

Neenan carries a grade point average of 4.012 (97.4 on a 100-point scale). As a senior, he has taken four Advanced Placement courses: Calculus AB, Biology, Economics and Computer Science Principles. As a junior, he took AP U.S. History, and AP English Language and Composition. In his sophomore year, he took AP World History. He also took an Introduction to Business course through Monroe Community College and a Government course through Genesee Community College.

As a student involved in a number of high school activities, Neenan was a member of National Honor Society where he helped run two different car washes that raised over $1,000 for charitable causes. He was also a member of the Math Team, the Class of 2024 treasurer, Vice President of the Yearbook Club and an intern in the Athletic Department. He was also part of the Link Crew which helps acclimate freshmen to the high school.

Service has always been important to Neenan and it started at a young age when he was part of the Make A Difference Committee at Manor School as a fifth-grader.

“It was one of my first opportunities to meet people and help plan events like the St. Baldrick’s basketball fundraising event,” Neenan said. “I was able to help lead a group of people and it kept going from there on into Middle School and then the high school. I think it also played a small factor into my decision to serve my country. I find the most joy in serving and helping others. Serving others and serving my country go hand-in-hand. My service work, even when I was younger, helped me learn that about myself.”

Outside of school, Neenan has helped out with soccer, basketball and baseball camps at HF-L. He also works on the Neenan Farm during the summer. He plays with the Rochester Brewers Travel Baseball team.

Neenan has received several awards and honors. As a junior, he received the Clarkson Leadership Award. This year, he has received the Kristine Pierce Brassie Scholarship, the Sgt. Kade O’Brien American Legion Post 664 Award, the Finucane Family Award, a Blaze Travel Soccer Award and the Lima Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 26 Award.

A three-sport athlete, Neenan has played soccer, basketball and baseball all throughout high school. He was on the varsity soccer team for three years, serving as a captain of the team in his junior and senior years. Neenan was a starter on defense where he played a key role in the team’s five shutouts and also chipped in six assists (third on the team). He played varsity basketball for two years and also played a few games on varsity as a sophomore. He was a captain of the team as a senior. Neenan averaged 5 points (totaled 96), three rebounds and one assist per game. Neenan has played varsity baseball for three years where he was a captain in both his junior and senior years. This spring, he played shortstop and pitched and had a .400 batting average, which was second on the team. He collected 28 hits with eight doubles (led team) and one triple, 23 RBI (led the team) and scored 21 runs (second on the team). As a pitcher, Neenan had a 4-1 record and a 2.82 earned run average (second on the team), yielding 36 hits and 18 walks in 39-and-two-thirds innings with 45 strikeouts (third on the team).

His athletic honors include 1st team All League honors as a junior and as a senior in soccer and All League 2nd team honors as a junior and All League 1st team honors as a senior in baseball. He was named an Exceptional Senior in soccer and in baseball. He was named the Herbert Worboys Award winner just last week at the HF-L Athletic Department Awards Ceremony.

Neenan hopes to play baseball at the Naval Academy as a walk-on.

There were many people who Neenan said have inspired him and helped him during his days as a student at HF-L, going all the way back to kindergarten.

“My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Patton,” he said. “There was Dan Michalski, my fourth-grade teacher, who influenced me with lessons learned in and out of the classroom. There’s my uncle Kevin (a phys ed teacher at Manor School and the former boys varsity basketball and baseball coach at HF-L), who has been such an influential part of my life showing me how to do things right and the right way, and he helped me hitting wise in baseball. At Middle School, it would be Mrs. Merrill who helped me develop my math skills and Mrs. Lavery and Mrs. Merritt. Mr. Gardner, who I had for phys ed, helped me develop a strong work ethic and character and Mrs. Davis for all the help she gave to keep me healthy during my athletic career. At the high school, the most influential would be Coach Hoyt and Coach (Mike) Merrill because they were two of my biggest supporters in school and always pushed me to be the best and to lead along with Coach Russ and Mr. Donohue for the example they set in leading people. Two others at the high school who have been inspiring are Mr. Somers who is my physics teacher because he made learning fun and also Mrs. Gitsis. I am truly grateful to all of them.”

Asked what his favorite memories from high school would be, Neenan focused on people.

“My favorite memories would be hanging out with my friends,” he said. “It’s the connections with people that you can’t take away, like practices in the different sports, the pasta parties with teammates, the bus rides home from games and class projects in the classroom and in my other school activities like NHS.”

©2024 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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