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Cumberland County Girl Headed for Citadel

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Mandy Garcia
FAYETTEVILLE — Mandy Garcia isn't letting horror storiesor the threat of media attention scare her off. The 71st high Schoolstudent is one of the 39 female applicants accepted and the newly-coedmilitary college this year.

Garcia will be the first female student from Cumberland County toattend the Citadel. She comes from a military family and is, herself, amajor in the ROTC program at her school. She also plays the cello, hasbeen a cheerleader and is a cross-country runner, in addition to severalother 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 andthat she won't let knowledge of past trouble for women at the school deterher.

Her teacher, John Finlaw, recommended her to the Citadel. Finlaw is a1968 graduate who, until last year, he was opposed to theadmission of women to the school. Now, he says, he truly wants to seeGarcia attend and succeed.

Garcia says she thinks she can handle anything the Citadel has tochallenge her with. Her family, she says, will support her through anyordeal.

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

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