Ole Brook senior appointed to Naval Academy

Published 11:55 am Monday, March 25, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — A few weeks ago Brookhaven senior Bryce Smith signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to play soccer. His hope was to still be able to go to the Naval Academy, his dream of an appointment came true Monday morning. 

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was still in town before she left for congress Washington D.C. and got the news that Bryce was accepted into the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She called Bryce’s mom Erin Smith to give her the good news. 

Smith in turn gathered a crowd of family, friends and teachers at Brookhaven High School to surprise Bryce. He had not heard the good news when he was called out of class into the library. 

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“I walked in here and saw everyone and the senator, that was the big reveal,” Bryce said. “I could tell something was going on. I knew I was accepted when I saw everyone. I am looking forward to the unity they have there at the Naval Academy. They say it is the biggest frat. I’m excited to be part of that brotherhood.” 

Bryce said he would call his coach at MGCCC and tell him the news Monday morning. His senior year has been full of celebration following a devastating knee injury in his junior season of football. 

King’s Daughter Medical Center awarded Bryce the first comeback player of the year for the way he bounced back from injury. In November, Bryce was named a Heisman Scholarship Winner for Mississippi. 

“It is a culmination of hard work, determination and waiting these past few months. I am glad I got the news,” he said. “Thank you to my family, my coaches, my senators and congressmen.” 

After the Naval Academy, Bryce said he hopes to be able to fly F-35s in the Marine Corps through the Marine Aviation program. His heart has always had a deep call to serve in the military. 

Bryce said his middle school binders were filled with pictures of tanks, military planes and army trucks. Hyde-Smith said she was grateful she got to deliver the good news to Bryce and be at the school for the appointment celebration. She said it is the first time she was able to be at the school for it. 

“We look forward to following your career and future. You make Brookhaven look so good,” Hyde-Smith said. “I’m honored to deliver the news.” 

Smith’s former middle school quest teacher Gwen Case was in the library for the celebration. She taught for 39 and a half years in Brookhaven School District mostly at the middle school level. 

“It is amazing,” she said. “I always pray for my students. I just knew the Lord had great things in store for Bryce.”