- New Hope-Solebury School District
Erin Firth ('21): 4th Class Cadet
Erin Firth (’21) spent her years in New Hope-Solebury schools exploring math and science, learning to navigate challenging situations on the hockey field, and developing a sense of purpose through community service. Her commitments and temperament helped earn Erin an appointment to the prestigious US Air Force Academy. Her ability to lead, to serve, and to achieve will support her as she embarks on her service to our nation.
Erin knew at an early age that she enjoyed studying math and science and had a pivotal opportunity in her early high school years to attend a camp introducing students to different kinds of engineering. She also knew she was intrigued by space and even considered a future as an astronaut. These interests helped her focus her plans for post-secondary education on aerospace engineering.
However, her path to this has not always been easy. While enrolled in AP Physics and AP Chemistry courses, she found herself challenged in new ways. “I never had to work so hard for a grade before. I failed a few quizzes and had to relearn how to study. I needed to really understand the content and be able to apply it.” Ultimately, she found that the challenge of this inspired her most, and she credits her teachers, Mrs. Ryan, Mr. Sorenson, and Mrs. Shade, for helping to energize her about the course material. “They are all so into what they teach. They teach this content every year, and yet it never gets old for them. They are all excited about little things, and their energy made me more passionate.”
Erin experienced her greatest lessons in discipline and stress management while playing field hockey and travel ice hockey. She focused on using her time effectively, including dedicating time on her many drives to practices to her homework assignments. These small efforts in time management meant that the work wasn’t waiting for her when she got home, and she could get the rest she needed each night. She also taught herself to prepare for stressful situations, such as penalty shots. At every practice, Erin prepped for the exact scenario. This helped her approach the shots with confidence, knowing that she had the training she needed to perform at her best.
Erin shared that her most fulfilling experiences were found in her volunteer work. As a volunteer at Doylestown Hospital, her job was patient transport, meaning she helped take patients to and from tests or to discharge. She listened to the patients’ stories and was taken with the advice shared with her, especially her oldest patients who reminded her that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. She found, especially in the past year, that those isolated by COVID were truly in need of normal, everyday conversations and that they found joy in guiding a young teenager. She noted, “You will never be able to change the world by helping one person, but sometimes small, seemingly trivial actions can change a person’s world.”
Following a successful essay submission and a rigorous series of interviews, Erin received a prestigious congressional nomination from Representative Brian Fitzpatrick and an acceptance to the Air Force Academy. She recently finished basic training and reports that her experience has been challenging, yet fun and rewarding. She comments, “I have met many amazing people and have already grown as both a teammate and a leader. Now that I am finished with Basic Cadet Training, I am awaiting the start of the academic year and am excited to see how well NHS has prepared me!”
Erin Firth is recognized by the Air Force Academy during our commencement ceremony.
Congressman Fitzpatrick visits to congratulate the students selected to receive the Congressional Nomination to the United States service academies. (Pictured from left to right, Dr. Charles Lentz, Superintendent of Schools, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, Kate Heindrichs ('21), Liam Griffith ('21), Erin Firth ('21), Mr. Erik Pedersen, HS Assistant Principal, and Ms. Hebat El-Turkey, HS Guidance Counselor)