Whenever she thinks about the opportunity that lies ahead for her eldest child, Joseph, Jennifer Affronti’s eyes well with tears.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Jennifer, the mother of three.
Joseph, a King High School senior, recently received an appointment from Rep. Dennis Ross into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Prep School Class of 2014.
He will be among a select group of cadets who have proven themselves academically, as leaders, and as athletes.
“On July 23rd I turn him over to the United States Army and may God watch over him each minute of every day,” his mother said.
Joseph III, also the son of Joseph II, more commonly called Joey, and grandson of former Temple Terrace Mayor Joseph “Joe” Affronti, Sr., is in King’s International Baccalaureate program and holds a 5.69 weighted grade point average.
With a class ranking of 13 among the 270 graduating seniors he is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars.
Joseph is the 2013 District Wrestling Champion and placed second is this year’s Regional Championship matches. He joined the wrestling team in the ninth grade and has been captain ever since. In 2012 he was invited to compete in the Disney Duals Wresting Tournament, where he qualified as a member of the All American Team, one that placed eighth among a field of 30 teams.
He’s been vice president of his class all four of his years at King and was a Boys States attendee. He represented his school at both the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Mid-Florida Conference and at its World Conference in Chicago.
Joseph also attended the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., a program designed for the nation’s best and brightest high school students.
While a KHS freshman he received Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Celebrate Freedom Foundation JROTC Award for outstanding performance in academics and cadets corps activities as a first-year cadet.
Joseph’s numerous civic activities include, among others, being a Metropolitan Ministries and Feed America volunteer, a team leader for King’s Relay for Life and a five-day messenger for former Florida Rep. Shawn Harrison in Tallahassee.
The soon-to-be West Point cadet comes from a family of military veterans. His great-grandfather, Everett Winch, and his grandfather Joe Affronti served in the Army. His grandfather Everett W. Winch was in the Navy and his grandfather Robert C. Beyer, Jr., a 1956 West Point graduate, retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general.
Joseph’s dad, Joey, said after taking his son to an event as an eighth-grader at Raymond James Stadium where the young boy witnessed a jump from the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, the child set his goal toward being accepted into the academy.
“Joseph worked diligently from that day forward in and out of the classroom,” his father said.
Joe Affronti said the entire family is elated about Joseph’s prestigious appointment.
“He worked so hard to be able to go there and he did it on his own,” Joe Affronti said.
Joseph said there is nothing he had ever experienced that was more thrilling than when he opened a letter from the academy and learned he had been accepted.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world,” he said. “I felt so proud of myself and felt so accomplished because I worked so hard to achieve my goal.”