Mid-Missouri graduate prepares for West Point

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JEFFERSON CITY – Most recently graduated high school seniors have a whole summer off before they must prepare for their next step in life, but one mid-Missouri teen has to face her reality much sooner.

Jefferson City High School graduate Haley Watson is waiting to start basic training.

“One of the reasons I want to serve our country is because every day, we wake up and go to work or school and we aren’t worried about terrorism and it’s not at the front of our mind," she said. "We take for granted how safe we are and we get to pray in or homes or not pray in our homes. I think its important for people to continue to take that for granted and that is one the reasons why I want to join the military."

Watson is a highly motivated individual as she boasts an impressive résumé in academics and athletics. She earned 21 college credits while obtaining a perfect GPA and graduating as salutatorian at Jefferson City High School.

She was alsostudent body president and a member of the varsity track team.

Julie and Jon Watson, Haley’s mother and father, say that leadership has always come naturally for their daughter.

“She has been committed to leadership throughout her entire life, so moving on to college was going to be a natural step and it just worked out that West Point was that next step,” her parents said.

Haley’s sisters say they are proud her but will miss Haley while she is gone.

“Selfishly we are sad that she is going away, but way beyond that, selflessly, we could not be more proud of her and her goals," Hope Watson said.

While at West Point, Haley said she will either pursue a degree in American politics or environmental science.

Basic training starts at the end of June. She then plans to complete her degree in four years and serve in active duty for another five after graduating.