Photo credit: Jeanne Courtright
By Steve Sears
James Caldwell High School senior, Mackenzie Courtright, will call New York state home for the next four years.
Courtright, who is 18, will be stationed at West Point as a member of the United States Military Academy. She will be a student there and will be commissioned into the army after graduation.
“West Point is one of the top engineering schools,” Courtright says. “After speaking with a recruiter over the summer, I began to research West Point more and determined it was a school I was interested in.”
Courtright’s grandfather on her dad’s side and great-grandfather on her mom’s side both served in the United States Military, but it didn’t have much of an influence in her decision to apply. She, therefore, is the first in her family to attend USMA.
For Courtright, who received a nomination from New Jersey state Senator Cory Booker, the application process consisted of composing many essays, passing the Candidate Fitness Assessment, passing DoDMERB (Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board), and ultimately receiving a nomination. “The timeframe for me,” she says, “was starting the application process over the summer in August and receiving an appointment in early February.”
Courtright received a call from Sen. Booker’s office, informing her of her acceptance and offering his congratulations. “Helping select our next generation of military leaders is a great honor and tremendous responsibility,” says Sen. Booker. “I am thankful for New Jerseyans like Mackenzie who are devoting themselves to the service of this nation. Acceptance to a United States service academy is an enormous accomplishment, and I know Mackenzie will represent our state and our country well.”
In addition, Courtright was recently awarded a Summit Award from the Boy Scouts of America. “Venturing Crew is a part of the Boy Scouts of America. I have been a part of Venturing Crew 59 since 2015. Venturing is co-ed Boy Scouts for older Scouts aged between 14 and 21. It is focused on learned leadership skills, service, and high adventure trips and activities. I have held the positions of Treasurer, Vice President of Programs, Vice President of Administration, and President during my time with the crew and have had many other opportunities, including the chance to staff National Youth Leadership Training, attend the 2017 National Jamboree, and attend SeaBase Bahamas.”
Courtright credits her parents, Gregory and Jeanne, with choices she’s made through her teenage years that presented the opportunity. Her parents say, “We are both so very proud of her. She has worked very hard for everything she has accomplished. We are excited to see where this journey will take her.”
James Caldwell High School Principal James Devlin cites Courtright’s accomplishments and envisions hers as a bright future. “Mackenzie demonstrates the highest levels of service, leadership, and character. From her freshman year when she sought permission to promote cystic fibrosis fundraisers, to her recognition at the Summit Court of Honor for the Scout’s Venture Program, she has led the charge to strengthen and improve our community. The greatest military in the world needs the finest leaders, so West Point stuck gold when they accepted Mackenzie. Not only is she bright and tenacious, but she also has a strong moral compass. We are extremely proud of her.”