Bennie Thompson – USHOR Floor Speech on DeCarol Davis (Resolution 1241)
Res. 1241 House Floor Speech on DeCarol Davis
delivered 22 July 2008
On May 21st 2008, Ensign Davis graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a grade point average of 3.96 in electrical engineering. She earned the distinction of being the first African American valedictorian of the Coast Guard Academy.
The Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876, but the first African American did not graduate from the institution until 1966. Women were not admitted to the school until 1976.
Today, we honor Ensign Davis, who, through her hard work and perseverance, accomplished what no African American has done before her: She achieved the Academy’s highest honor.1
This achievement is remarkable, given that over the past three decades the number of minorities graduating from the Coast Guard Academy has not kept pace with the other military service academies. Legislation approved by the House earlier this year, Mr. Speaker, would bring about more diversity within the Coast Guard Academy by allowing Members of Congress to nominate individuals for this academy, just as we do all other military service academies.
I would also note that outside of the classroom Ensign Davis has distinguished herself as a community leader. On her own initiative, in the little spare time that she had, Ensign Davis wrote and directed a play for a local elementary school that introduced engineering as a possible career to the students. During her time at the academy, Ensign Davis also excelled in sports. In fact, she was selected to be the 2006 Arthur Ashe First Team Sports Scholar for basketball. She was also selected to be on the 2007 ESPN Academic Women’s Basketball Team for All-District One Colleges. This is just a sample of this gifted young person’s accomplishments.
Ensign Davis clearly is destined to be a successful career in the Coast Guard.
Earlier this month, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to meet Ensign Davis and spent some time getting to know her. During our meeting, she spoke passionately about her internship with D.C. Voice, a group of education activists concerned about public education in our Nation’s capital.
As a Truman scholar, Ensign Davis could have worked anywhere, but she chose to focus her energies on the District of Columbia and work to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children who attended D.C. public schools.
Today, Mr. Speaker, we honor Ensign DeCarol Davis for being a trailblazer whose academic accomplishments are matched by a commitment to protecting our Nation and contributing to our communities.
Congratulations to Ensign Davis and the rest of the Class of 2008.
This Nation is appreciative of your commitment to service. Your talents are needed to ensure that the Coast Guard can continue to be a “can do” agency that we have all come to rely upon to keep our ports and waterways safe and secure.
I urge your support of this resolution and join me in recognizing a future leader of our country.
1 Ensign DeCarol Davis was Valedictorian of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2008.