04/29/07 — Eastern Wayne senior headed to The Citadel

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Eastern Wayne senior headed to The Citadel

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 29, 2007 2:00 AM

Jasmine McLamb of Goldsboro is the first to admit she might seem like an unlikely candidate for the Citadel.

More of a free spirit, she has a penchant for fashion -- highlighted flowing curls and a tiny sparkling nose ring.

Not exactly tailor-made for the South Carolina military college with an austere reputation for discipline.

"I got it now because I wanted it and to get it out of my system," the Eastern Wayne High School senior explained.

She is not a typical "military-type person," she said, despite growing up in an Air Force family.

Ranked 27th in her graduating class of 278, she had already proven herself to be a conscientious student and was active in the community. She participated in Junior Leadership of Wayne County, serves on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and was recently named Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, subsequently becoming a finalist in the state competition. She also attends classes at Wayne Community College through the Jump Start program for outstanding high school students.

But it was her athletic ability -- volleyball and basketball -- that she thought would be her ticket into college.

She applied to 12 schools for the fall and was accepted to nine, with scholarship offers from six. The Citadel was not among them.

When a teacher suggested she attend a scholarship fair in Jacksonville, she shrugged it off, but later went out of curiosity.

"I really didn't have any idea about the Citadel before," she said. A representative at the job fair told her she would be a good candidate.

Several days later, she received information in the mail, along with a request to submit an essay and to visit the campus.

"It was a little shocking. I just didn't think I was going to get (in)," she says now. "I was not used to that much structure. They said it's more strict than West Point."

Jasmine said she was used to rules through her involvement in sports, "but not to that extent. I'm not used to somebody telling me every move."

She later received notification that she had been accepted -- on a full four-year academic scholarship.

"It covers everything. All my mom has to pay for is a computer," she said. With room and board, books and uniform taken care of, the award is worth an estimated $14,583 each semester, or about $29,000 a year for four years.

There was much to consider. Jasmine aspires to become a doctor in the field of radiology. At the Citadel, smaller than some of the universities, she could study biology and receive more individual attention.

The pressure was on.

"People kept telling me how big it is," she said.

Especially for a black female. Out of the current 2,037 corps of cadets at the Citadel, 1,924 are men, 113 are women. Broken down further, admissions officials said the class is made up of 1,712 white students, 144 blacks and a smattering of other minorities.

The diversity question is not an unfamiliar one.

"Moving around with my family, we lived in strange places," she said. "I'm kind of used to not having a lot of African Americans around, but as far as females, that's going to be different. I'll get used to it. I usually adapt pretty well."

It is perhaps that spirit that prompted her to accept the challenge of going the unlikely route.

"My mom and dad always told me it's mandatory to go to college," she said, noting that mom, Annette, said the Citadel would probably be good for her.

"'You can learn from structure,'" her mother said.

Jasmine said her choice will allow her to concentrate on her studies.

"I figure at the Citadel I won't have too many distractions so I should make good grades," she said. "It's kind of a relief because I had been bouncing back and forth (between other schools)."

Jasmine anticipates it will be an adjustment trading in her long locks for the regulation haircut at the Citadel in a few months.

"It can't be longer than 3 inches and tapered in the back," she said.

She said she knows there will be plenty of time to socialize later. And, even though she isn't pursuing her interest in fashion design, the idea is not off the table.

"After I get on my feet as a radiologist, I want to open up a little boutique," she said.