Grad heads to West Point
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jun 28, 2013, 13:26
BRIAN CAPALDO/HOPEWELL SCHOOLS Taylor Robinson has been accepted to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point .
HOPEWELL — Taylor Robinson’s journey to the United States Military Academy at West Point started when she was 12 years old. Her father, who was and still is enlisted in the military, told his daughter that if she got accepted to the military academy, she would get the car of her choice.
Now, five years later, at 17, Robinson does not have a new car, but she does have the acceptance letter to West Point. Robinson was accepted to the academy and given a $400,000 scholarship. She is the first student at Hopewell High School in several years to get the chance to go to West Point.
“I believe that all people, or American citizens, or citizens in general should serve our country,” Robinson said. “And what’s a better way then to go to one of our most prestigious schools and pursue my military career after that.”
Though it started with the promise of a new car, Robinson began to look into the military life for herself. Growing up as a child with both parents in the military, her mother retiring after 23 years of service and her father, now a colonel, still serving after almost 25 years, Robinson still found it to be a path she wanted to travel.
“I want to be in military intelligence,” Robinson said of her career path in the military. “I’m looking at cyber intelligence. I’ve always been interested in intel, foreign intelligence, counter intelligence and national security.”
To start on the path to military life, Robinson joined the JROTC program at her former high school in Northern Virginia, but found after a short time it may not have been the right choice.
Robinson confessed she did not like the program, from the personal training to the rigorous regiment that she had to follow. Though she considered quitting the program and pursuing other options, Robinson stuck with JROTC as she transferred to Hopewell High School in 2010, her sophomore year.
Staying with the program reaped its rewards as Robinson was granted the role of battalion commander her senior year. She was in charge of over 150 other cadets, who she said after time felt like her family, and admitted there were challenges during her year as a leader.
“It’s not an easy job,” Robinson said. “Not everyone is going to like you but you have to do what you have to do sometimes.”
Robinson took everything she learned being a JROTC and put it to paper as she applied to the academy. In that application was also a presidential nomination for Robinson.
As the months wore on, Robinson stuck with the mindset that she would not get accepted to the academy and began looking at the other schools she applied to, such as Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Then one day, while with her mother, a black case, not a traditional envelope arrived, announcing that she had been accepted. Though the promise of the new car still hung in the air, her father expressed that he was proud of his daughter, but also expressed his concern, as he wanted to make sure Robison was making the right decision.
“He just wanted to make sure I was making a wise decision, and make sure it was something I was going to be happy with and I wasn’t doing it because him and my mom were in the military,” Robinson said, recounting the conversation with her dad. “It’s something I truly wanted to do.”
Now that Robinson has walked across the stage at graduation, received her high school diploma along with her acceptance to West Point, she is preparing to depart Hopewell in the next month for the academy, which is located about 45 minutes outside New York City in West Point, New York.
Robinson has been focused on her personal training, especially running, as she admits that is not her strong suit, and working on making sure she is putting in some quality time at the gym.
“In the candidate packet there is a big emphasis on personal training and how you need to be ready when you get here,” Robinson said, who is expected to report to the academy on July 23 to start her basic training.
From there, Robinson will begin her classes and remain a civilian until her junior year when she will be sworn in and continue onto graduation, where she has goals of graduating in the top of her class. After graduation, Robinson said she is contracted to serve eight years in the military. She said she hopes her first assignment will be overseas, such as Italy.
While her dream to go to West Point has been realized, Robinson does admit it also comes with a fear, a fear that she, as a female, will be a minority on campus, as she noted the ratio of men to women at the academy is fairly large.
Despite the fact Robinson knows there are not a large amount of females on campus, she is still looking forward to serving as a female in the military.
“I feel like women can serve just as well as a man,” Robinson said.
She also knows the transition from the hallways of Hopewell High to the campus at West Point will be tough, but she still maintains a wide grin as she envisions herself walking through the hallowed halls of West Point.
“I have been dreaming about going to West Point,” Robinson said.