BACOLOD CITY – A ranked tennis player in the United States born to Bacoleno parents became the first athletic scholar from her district to enter the prestigious West Point military academy.
Justine Dondonay was feted by her school, Golden Valley High in Sta. Clarita, California for her feat.
This is her latest achievement following her selection as a High School All-American player, “an honor that only 40 girls and 40 boys tennis players earned across the country,” the school said in an article posted on its website.
The article described her as “the junior sensation” that “keeps bringing home prestigious accolades.”
Her father, Enrique, told DNX in an exclusive online interview that Justine was born in the US in 2002 and is the middle child among three siblings.
Enrique said he and her wife, Lynsie Bando, are both Bacolod natives who migrated to the US in 2001.
Her grandparents are Jim and Grace Dondonay, and the late Simeon Bando and his wife, Erlinda.
Enrique said West Point is “very selective with their applicants,” and Justine was selected because she met “the high (academic and physical) standards.”
If she graduates, she will have the rank of second lieutenant and will serve the US Armed Forces for a minimum of two years.
West Point is reputed as one of the elite military institutions in the world.
President Thomas Jefferson formally established the United States Military Academy in 1802.
Among its graduates are former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos and Gen. Douglas McArthur, chief of staff of the United States Army in the 1930s who became Field Marshal of the Philippine Army.