Local News

Cumberland County Girl Headed for Citadel

Posted April 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Mandy Garcia isn't letting horror stories or the threat of media attention scare her off. The 71st high School student is one of the 39 female applicants accepted and the newly-coed military college this year.

Garcia will be the first female student from Cumberland County to attend the Citadel. She comes from a military family and is, herself, a major in the ROTC program at her school. She also plays the cello, has been a cheerleader and is a cross-country runner, in addition to several other athletic pursuits.

She says the challenge of the Citadel calls to her.

Garcia says her desire to attend the Citadel is not a gender issue and that she won't let knowledge of past trouble for women at the school deter her.

Her teacher, John Finlaw, recommended her to the Citadel. Finlaw is a 1968 graduate who, until last year, he was opposed to the admission of women to the school. Now, he says, he truly wants to see Garcia attend and succeed.

Garcia says she thinks she can handle anything the Citadel has to challenge her with. Her family, she says, will support her through any ordeal.

Only two of the four women who started last year at the school are still there.