“Take every opportunity that’s given to you to grow.”
Those are words to the 2021 graduates of Senior High from Mansfield City Schools alumna, Caitlynne McLaughlin. She will join her fellow cadets on May 22 as she graduates from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
McLaughlin always set her sights on attending West Point. She participated in Young Marines during elementary school and her grandfather was enlisted in the Army. She initially entered college at Ohio State University’s main campus in Columbus immediately after graduating from Senior High in 2016. Shortly after enrolling, she received her acceptance letter to West Point. She finished her first year at OSU, majoring in electrical engineering and also participated in OSU Army ROTC before continuing her journey to New York in the summer of 2017.
McLaughlin will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Arabic, a language that peeked her interested after she took an aptitude test. After taking a class, she landed on it as her major area of study. In addition to a degree, McLaughlin will be commissioned into the United States Army with the rank of second lieutenant.
There were many transitions into the culture of West Point. She says coming from Mansfield to OSU’s campus was a culture shock for her. Navigating such a large campus with sometimes 500 students in one class was difficult to get used to. Moving to the tightly-knit West Point community, was not. Thanks to her experience at Mansfield City Schools, the common thread of togetherness was one she was familiar with.
“At Mansfield, it feels like a family,” she said. “The people come first.”
With the feeling of home anchoring her, McLaughlin has enjoyed being able to travel much of the domestic United States and abroad, spending a semester in Morocco in 2020 prior to the pandemic. McLaughlin’s plans after graduation will take her to Georgia then to Kentucky in the fall where she will be studying in the United States Army Signal, the branch of the armed forces that manages communications and information systems. All graduates of West Point must serve for a minimum of eight years, five of those as active duty.
In the meantime, McLaughlin will continue to visit Mansfield when she is able - during the summer months and holiday season, to visit her family.
Viewers can watch the West Point graduation virtually on Saturday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m.: https://www.westpoint.edu/graduation2021.