Samantha Edwards and Her Journey to West Point
Samantha Edwards has always been very determined. The reason for this may surprise people, but she attributes it to her homeschooling. Sammie has been home-schooled for all of her schooling, with the last four years through the Independent Study Program at Cedar Park Christian School. According to Sammie, homeschooling forced her to push herself out of her comfort zone and to participate in various activities; swimming, community service and academics being the main focus.
Homeschooling not only helped Sammie grasp concepts quickly, but also taught her how to be a self-disciplined and an independent learner. Sammie said, “I knew that I wanted to push myself harder, so I started doing Independent Study, with my advisor, through Cedar Park Christian as a freshman.
As a competitive swimmer for many years, both in a year-around club program and on a high school team, Sammie has been blessed with success. Sammie was a three-time All-Conference selection in the KINGCO athletic league and achieved recognition this year as a Scholastic All American and as an invitee to the U.S. Winter Junior Nationals. This coming Fall, Sammie will continue her swimming at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she has recently received an appointment.
For Sammie, however, swimming has been much more than just competing to win races. She said, “swimming teaches you about yourself and helps you to push past each plateau and those times of self-doubt.” Sammie has learned to heed the advice from family, more experienced swimming peers and coaches. Sammie remarked, “they taught me that you must have perseverance; which to me is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” For Sammie, that is the essence of swimming; persevering and enduring through countless hours of practice and pain each day.
Sammie’s family has been influential. Sammie describes some of their advice as follows: “my family has always told me, ‘it’s not how many times you get knocked down’… and before they could finish, my 10-year-old self would role my eyes and finish the sentence with ‘I know, it’s how many times you get back up.’” Sammie continues, “it was only after years of successes and failures in athletic competition, that I took this childhood quotation to heart and fully grasped its meaning.” For Sammie, this saying is a reminder to keep trying, and it symbolizes hope and purpose and helps her keep her eye on her goals.
Sammie has been asked why she has chosen to attend West Point. Sammie gives a simple reply: “I consider myself a patriot. I am very proud and very blessed to call this great country my home. I want to give back to my country and to protect everything for which this nation stands. Our country is a symbol of freedom for the whole world and a beacon of hope for the oppressed. Our freedom must never be taken for granted and each generation of citizens must find within its ranks, those who are willing to sacrifice to preserve that freedom. I want to do my part, and I believe I can do this by serving in the military and being a leader of fellow patriots.”
Lastly, Sammie remarked: “I will always be deeply grateful to CPCS and the Independent Study program”. “IS has given me the opportunity to work and excel at my own pace, to gain knowledge, to mature emotionally and socially and to grow in my faith in Christ. Each of these areas has helped me to move forward toward my journey to West Point.”