North Oconee senior Anna Jerald said she has always felt the call to serve others. Since she was in the second grade, she has known she wanted to attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
On Friday morning at the North Oconee fieldhouse, Jerald was joined by her family, friends, coaches and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., as she signed her appointment papers to attend the United States Military Academy.
“I am really excited and I feel honored and blessed to get this opportunity to serve,” Jerald said. “Since about second grade, I have known that I wanted to be in the military and this opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t be more thankful.
“My whole family has served in one part of the military. It is very special. They are all proud and I am glad I get this opportunity and I am very thankful.”
At Friday’s ceremony, Hice gave everyone an opportunity to tell Jerald how proud they were of her.
“I felt very loved and very blessed to have all of these wonderful people surrounding me,” Jerald said.
Jerald found out earlier this month she got appointed to West Point where she will receive full room and board, medical care, dental care and an allowance. She will serve a minimum of five years in the United States army after graduating and will be a second lieutenant.
“[Signing the appointment papers] kind of put it into the realization that this is what I am doing, this is something I have always wanted and it is finally here,” Jerald said. “[The appointment process] was very difficult and time-consuming. It took a lot of time management and I think I learned that throughout high school. I applied to other schools on top of that so it was balancing everything and getting everything done by a due date. It was worth it in the end. I am glad I went through it.”
Jerald participates in track and field and cheerleading at North Oconee. She will play rugby at West Point. She is also active in the community.
“I help feed the homeless some weekends. I have worked at a food bank. I have been on mission trips,” Jerald said. “I think helping people is one of the most important things you can do.”
Jerald is the second member of the 2017 graduating class from North Oconee to get appointed to one of the service academies – swimmer Alexis Shirley will be attending the Air Force Academy.
“It is absolutely amazing that we both have the drive and the motivation to go do what we are doing,” Jerald said. “That is incredible.”