Albertus Magnus senior Jacqueline Parker will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point in the fall. She was one of seven Rockland County students to be accepted into a military service academy this year and the only one to receive a “principal nomination” with the support of Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who chose Parker as her top pick.
The 17-year-old, who most people call “Jackie,” was also accepted into the Air Force Academy, but the decision to go to West Point was easy, she said.
“I visited West Point as a freshman when my sister was interested in going there and fell in love with the campus.”
Parker’s mother was born in South Korea and her father in New York City. Both her parents are pastors, and the family moved around some while she was growing up. She credits Albertus Magnus and the Rockland County community with providing the foundation for her success and helping prepare her for a leadership career.
In high school, Parker embraced leadership roles: as a stage manager in this spring’s musical, a newspaper editor, co-captain of the varsity track and cross country teams and peer tutor, to name a few.
Also, in her sophomore, junior and senior years, Parker dedicated several hours every week to a junior cadet program outside of school. She learned how to wear and take care of a uniform, perform drills, kept up a regimen of physical training and served as a team leader for other students.
Parker said she had an experience with sexual harassment and hazing during those years that initially shook her resolve to pursue a career in the military. Eventually, though, it led her to become even more determined to attend West Point and be of service to her country, she said.
Check out the video above to hear her tell it in her own words.
Now she strives to share her experience with other young women with the hope they’ll learn how to better defend themselves if they encounter a similar situation in high school, college or career.
She also plans to participate in anti-hazing and sexual assault prevention and awareness student groups at West Point.
In her freshman class, Parker will be one of about 180 women in a class of 1,200.