By Paul McMullen
What Plebe Summer is to the U.S. Naval Academy, “Beast Barracks” is to the U.S. Military Academy.
Madison Maguire reports July 2 to West Point for that Cadet Basic Training. For seven weeks, from physical training at 5 a.m. to lights out at 10 p.m., her brain and body will begin the ardor of becoming an Army officer, but she is already an authority on one matter of defense.
A recent graduate of Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Maguire earned distinction there last January, when she won the 2014 National March For Life’s essay contest with a piece titled “Adoption: A Noble Decision.”
How does she reconcile a military career to, say, a fellow pro-lifer who might be a pacifist?
“Babies don’t have a voice,” Maguire said, “and the military provides defense for all.”
A veteran of West Point’s Summer Leadership Experience, Maguire draws parallels between there and de Sales.
“I like structure and organization,” she said. “I like that everyone here (at de Sales) loves to learn. I like the uniform, because you can’t judge people by what they wear. Everyone in class is active in discussion, and it’s going to be the same at West Point.”
The young woman known as “Maddy” spoke to the Catholic Review May 8, after an AP exam in English Literature and Composition.
She is something of a Renaissance woman, reading Robert Frost and writing songs since she was in the seventh grade, but with a “love” of math and science that has Maguire aspiring to a career with the Army Corps of Engineers.
“I’ve had a desire to serve my country since I was little,” Maguire said. “I’m used to moving around, so the lifestyle won’t be a problem.
Maguire was born in Florida, lived in Virginia Beach and was schooled in Hawaii, stops in her mother’s career as a special agent in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which spawned a TV spinoff. Her father is a civilian employee of the Department of Defense.
Maguire has hollered down a zip-line in the rainforests of Costa Rica, and broken 90 at Forest Park Golf Course. Besides being a member of the golf team all four years, she ran cross country and indoor track at de Sales, pursuits that got lost in a resume that saw her earn salutatorian; membership in four branches of the National Honor Society; and presidency of the Sodality of the Immaculate Conception.
In addition to being the sponsor of that group, Nashville Dominican Sister Elizabeth Marie also saw Maguire’s leadership in the classroom.
“My senior religion class is almost entirely seminar-style,” Sister Elizabeth Marie said. “Gifted students can be tempted to dominate the conversation, but Maddy never did. She spoke the truth clearly and confidently, but waited before making comments in case a quieter student wanted to contribute.
“She always listened to everyone, even those with whom she disagreed.”