Jacob Murphy –- Waldie/Shaeffer Finalist

Published May 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm (Updated May 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm)

Born in the U.S.A., Jacob Murphy of Bethel Park is surely glad he was.

“I love the freedoms we have here,” said the son of Diane and Jon Murphy. “People in other countries are not as free. I have been fortunate to grow up here and have the opportunities I do.”

After receiving a standout high school education, where he has maintained a 4.3 quality grade-point average in his advanced classes, Murphy now has the opportunity to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy, located at Kings Point on the north shore of Long Island, New York. In addition to playing football, Murphy will complete four years of regimental and academic curriculum, which includes three trimesters at sea on U.S. Flag Merchant vessels and Navy ships, as well as an internship that leads to a bachelor of science degree and an officer’s commission.

Originally, Murphy applied to the United States Naval Academy. While he received a nomination, he did not get an appointment to Annapolis.

“When I looked at the list of service academies,” said Murphy of the five military institutions, “Navy was my first choice but the Merchant Marine Academy offers the same result. I will be an officer in the Marines.”

In addition to having a friend and former classmate – Bryan Rock is a marine – Murphy has had another role model that piqued his patriotism. His paternal grandfather served in World War II. Wilson “Hugh” Murphy piloted a Higgins Navy Boat in the Pacific Theater.

“I love listening to his stories,” said Murphy.

What Murphy doesn’t love are the people who want to harm the United States and curtail his country’s freedoms. He remembers being in kindergarten at St. Louise de Marillac Elementary School in Upper St. Clair on Sept. 11, 2001. After early dismissal, Murphy spent the rest of the day with his mother and grandmother, Patricia Larkin.

“I remember they were upset and crying,” he said of that day when terrorists used airplanes to attack the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Later, Murphy added, it hit him that not everybody loves America. “Some people really want to hurt the country, and we need people to protect it.”

During his scholastic days, Murphy has done his share of protecting classmates, as well as teammates.

In football, the 6-0, 205-pound senior served as a two-way starter; tight end on offense and linebacker on defense. He helped the Hawks to a 6-4 overall record, a third-place finish in the Southeastern Conference and a WPIAL Quad-A playoff appearance.

In basketball, he captained the Hawks to the quarterfinals in the WPIAL Quad-A tournament and a PIAA playoff berth. In both instances, BP lost to eventual undefeated state champion, New Castle, and finished the season at 18-7 overall.

“Jacob is a positive role model,” said BP basketball coach Ben O’Connor. “He has the ability to be a vocal leader with his teammates and they followed him. He’s also a leader by example. He’s always the first and last to practice. He always worked as hard as he could. He never took one day off.”

In the classroom, Murphy has also worked hard, never slacking. He served on the Principal Advisory Council of Students for three years and the Student Government Association for four. A National Honor Society, member, Murphy also serves as treasurer for the Future Business Leaders of America organization.

In addition to the community service he performs with the football team, tidying up the local cemeteries and helping the Lions’ Club with its annual citrus sale, Murphy belongs to the Peters Creek Baptist Church Youth Group, where he has traveled to Appalachia and West Virginia on mission trips.

“I hope to make a difference,” explained Murphy.

“That is why the military is a good choice. I don’t have to wonder in life if I made a difference.”

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