Tahoma Grad Headed to West Point

Tahoma Graduate Maddie Rose is Headed to West Point Military Academy
Posted on 05/19/2022

High school is a time of exploration. At the end of high school, for many it is a time for decision.  Many students feel overwhelmed by the perception that there is an expectation of making a decision by graduation that determines their adult path. Maddie Rose, 2021 Tahoma graduate, found a path that would allow her to both explore and keep her choices in her control. 

Maddie Rose in Cap and Gown, in front of Army TankRose in Uniform in front of Blue Flags

Throughout her junior year, Rose researched different paths to medical school and how to finance her rigorous academic choice. She used her option to be a Running Start student to further her academics in pursuit of her goal to attend university. After taking the pre-SAT and researching many universities, an unexpected message arrived in her inbox– an email from West Point. She gave it a brief look and dismissed the idea.  


As Rose continued researching her options, she spoke with the National Guard. Together, they established a plan that would allow Rose to stay flexible and in control. She could attend university and join ROTC, and fulfill her National Guard responsibility one weekend a month, as part of the Simultaneous Membership Program. Or she could be full time with the National Guard and get on the job experience; full time Active Guard Reserve (AGR) positions are an option only available for non-college students. As Rose considered the option of being in the National Guard, ROTC and full time university student taking rigorous academic courses while working, she realized it would be “exhausting and lonely”. However, going full circle in her research, she realized that by attending West Point she would be able to earn her degree with time served and have life balance. 

After going over her options, Rose developed a path that is uniquely hers and in her control.  She enlisted in the National Guard at age 17 with her parents’ consent and support. During her senior year at Tahoma High, she trained with the Recruit Sustainment Program. After graduation, Rose completed Basic Combat Training and then progressed to Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T) to learn skills as a combat medic. Upon completion, Rose attended Airborne school and earned her wings.
Rose with a field IV, during Combat Medic training
Running a parallel path, she applied to West Point prior to attending Basic Training. Her first application was not successful because of the timing of Basic Training and paperwork deadlines. Being determined in her success, Rose pulled all the paperwork together prior to the next deadline. While she was at A.I.T., she was receiving phone calls from the West Point admissions counselor. By the time she completed A.I.T., Rose had been accepted to West Point.  


Rose has been working with the National Guard as a local area recruiter. It is rewarding to come to Tahoma High School to speak with students and share her experience with current Tahoma Bears to let them know they have options, too. She expressed appreciation for the opportunity to share with interested students that there are options and ability to maintain control over their personal path to do what they enjoy in life with the National Guard.

Rose working as a recruiter, speaking with students.

Cary Collins, Tahoma High School teacher of the Military History in the United States class, says, “Tahoma High School is unique in that it is the only high school in Washington State (that we know of) that offers a Military History of the United States course. Our military recruiters, from the very beginning, have been invaluable in their contributions to the class, providing a presence and a resource for students seeking to pursue military service. Tahoma High School has an open-door policy in which our recruiters are always welcome. Several of our recruiters are as well known on campus as our teaching faculty.” Collins continues, “Students feel comfortable around them and know that they can call on them when they need guidance and assistance. I depend on them in my Military History class to provide students with a firsthand knowledge of each of the branches of service.”


Now that Rose has over a year of experience, is ranked Specialist (SPC) with the National Guard and has been able to explore different skill sets, she has adjusted her path to pursue something she loves more than practicing medicine. Her plan at West Point is to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in International Affairs. Rose hopes to work in Civil Affairs and continue her education to earn a Master’s degree. Collins says, “She has immersed herself in striving for excellence in tackling the toughest of challenges. Maddie is a model of student accomplishment and an inspiration to all Tahoma Bears who will follow in the path she has forged.” 

“I congratulate Maddie on her appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at Westpoint,” said Matt Carreon, Tahoma School District Board Director and graduate of the Naval Academy. “Maddie has chosen a path of rigor, discipline, and challenge to be a leader in defense of this great nation. The school district and the community thank her for the desire to serve and wish her the very best.”


Soldiers stand with US flag

Rose has discovered great value in breaking from the traditional timeline of college right after high school. She is living her life how she wants, with it being one hundred percent in her control. Rose is excited to be “surrounded by like-minded people wanting to further develop their mental and physical tenacity,” she said. “I have the utmost appreciation for the experience I gained through enlisting and the leaders I have served under. I feel honored to begin a career centered on the pursuit of excellence and curation of leadership.” She is proud to be able to say to her parents “Don’t worry about educational expenses– I got this.” 

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