Published: Apr 23, 2012 11:38 PM EDT

WASHINGTON – Congressman Connie Mack announced that seven students from Southwest Florida have received appointments to the U.S. Service Academies.

One of the responsibilities of members of Congress is to nominate outstanding young men and women to the four U.S. Service Academies. The process of securing a nomination is competitive. Each applicant must demonstrate integrity, exceptional scholarship, leadership, physical aptitude, medical fitness and strong motivation to attend an academy. A nominating committee comprised of community officials from Southwest Florida objectively rates each nominee, and Congressman Mack then nominated 35 of the best candidates lastDecember.

A nomination does not guarantee appointment. Students must also apply to the academy and meet their competitive standards. Seven of the 35 nominated received those appointments.

Mack said: “All of the students who received appointments showed an incredible depth of talent, have reached high levels of academic and athletic achievement, and are very active in their schools and communities. I am very proud of the caliber of students in Southwest Florida. The fact that seven students received appointments is a testament to the strength and ability of our students and is a tremendous reflection on our community.”

The following students will be attending an academy in the fall:

U.S. Military Academy:

Richard Koch III, Naples, FL - Barron Collier High School

Pablo J. Zuniga, Naples, FL – Gulf Coast High School

U.S. Naval Academy:

Michael P. Higgins, Cape Coral, FL – Evangelical Christian School

Samantha H. Robbins, Lehigh Acre, FL – Canterbury School

U.S. Air Force Academy:

Alberto De La Rivaherrera, Naples, FL – Barron Collier High School

Krista D. McAloose, Estero, FL – Fort Myers High School/Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy:

Joseph M. DiLeo, Naples, FL – Saint John Neumann School