Viera High graduate takes unusual path to Naval Academy appointment


Michael Brunotte never gave up on his dream of attending the Naval Academy.


Michael Brunotte recently was selected for an appointment to the Class of 2021 of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The Melbourne resident graduated from Viera High School in 2016.

Brunotte, a three-sport varsity letterman for the Hawks in football, wrestling and track and field, graduated among the top 5 percent in his class, was a member of the National Honor Society and he also was a member of Mu Alpha Theta High School and the Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society. He served as a math and science tutor for his fellow students.

Brunotte was an Eagle Scout, who was a recipient of a merit scholarship from the National Eagle Scout Association. After earning the rank of Eagle, he continued his involvement in scouting by helping to form a new Boy Scouts troop for new scouts and he served as their first Senior Patrol Leader. Brunotte was a squadron commander of the Patrick Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol at Patrick Air Force Base.

During his senior year at Viera High School, Brunotte received a national four-year Naval ROTC scholarship to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach to major in aerospace engineering and minor in physics. He also was awarded the Presidential Scholarship at Embry-Riddle which, when combined with the NROTC scholarship, amounted to a full-ride for all his college expenses.

Brunotte was named to the Dean’s List during the fall semester at Embry-Riddle with a 4.0 grade point average. He was a Fourth Class Midshipman in the Naval ROTC.

Despite his success at Embry-Riddle, Brunotte refused to give up his dream of attending the Naval Academy. He adhered to Commander Lawrence’s famous command of “Don’t give up the ship!’’ in re-applying while attending Embry-Riddle. After missing out on an appointment for the Class of 2020, Brunotte was placed on the wait-list which did not lead to an appointment. Besides Embry-Riddle, he also was accepted into the aerospace engineering program at Georgia Tech.

Following in the footsteps of President Jimmy Carter and others who re-applied after a year of college, Brunotte worked hard at Embry-Riddle and competed with others to receive a senatorial nomination from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. He also received nominations from U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, as well as his commanding officer of the Naval ROTC unit at Embry-Riddle.

After completing his spring semester at Embry-Riddle later this month, Brunotte will report to Annapolis for Induction Day on June 29. He will begin Plebe Summer with approximately 1,177 other incoming freshmen from around the country for six weeks of rigorous physical and mental training before the start of the fall semester.

Brunotte’s dream of attending the Naval Academy dates back to when he was a young child. In middle school, he took high school-level math courses to prepare for the difficult admission standards. In the summer between his junior and senior years at Viera High, Brunotte attended the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar. The week-long, total-immersion experience targets competitive candidates with a strong STEM-related background. While there, Brunotte was introduced to the work involving a sub-critical nuclear reactor.