Ready to serve

First slide

Anna Rapp wanted to part of the military for as long as she can remember. Next fall, she will have a shot at it while attending the U.S. Military Academy - also known as West Point.

If the Bishop Ireton High School senior was excited to hear the news, her father - a two-star general in the Army and West Point graduate - was ecstatic.

"He took pictures of me opening the mailbox," Rapp said. "He was very excited."

To add to the excitement, Rapp, who has a great academic record, also won a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship because of her high PSAT and SAT scores, a recommendation from her principal and her extracurricular activities.

For a while Rapp debated whether to apply to West Point or participate in ROTC program at a university and still have the college experience. "I figured that if I was going to join the Army, I would go all in," she said.

Being accepted into West Point was no easy feat.

Rapp had to submit an essay and letters of recommendations in order to receive a congressional nomination before even filling out her West Point application. After U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado nominated her, Rapp went through medical, physical and academic exams.

She exceeded expectations in push-ups, sit-ups and running tests, in part thanks to her high school crew team.

"Crew practice is six days a week for three hours, which helped me train, but I also did targeted training like sit-ups," Rapp said.

Her team was part of the reason Rapp was quick to adapt to Ireton after transferring from a public school in New York.

"The religious aspect of it has brought me closer to my family, especially my mother who is very religious. That strengthened my faith especially last year when dad was deployed to Afghanistan," Rapp said.

As an Army child, she has attended schools in countries like Germany and Japan and states like Kansas, Washington and Maine.

Encouraged by her family, Rapp visited West Point last summer and she liked the camaraderie there.

"I was with a close-knit squad of eight people and we really bonded," she said. "We lived the life of the cadet for a week. We went to classes and trained in the obstacle courses out in the field."

During past summers, Rapp attended leadership and service camps, which helped her to step out of her shell.

"I am a natural introvert so going to those camps really helped me to open myself up," she said.

Rapp will use her leadership skills to serve her country and already has an idea about what she will do after West Point.

"I would be joining the Army's medical branch," she said. "My goal is to give back to my country."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013