West Point is demanding, and McDonald, a junior, loves it

January 15, 2004

Growing up in Glenwood, Joseph McDonald always knew he wanted to be in the military, but he also wanted to attend college. Now, as a junior at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McDonald is fortunate enough to be doing both.

"In my eyes, West Point is the best school in the world," he said.

McDonald, who is majoring in economics, was named to the dean's list the first semester this school year and received a Silver Star as a sophomore for being on the dean's list both semesters. He said the academic environment at West Point can be difficult, but added, "You learn how to work as much as you work hard."

The graduate of Glenelg High School attributes his success to the high demands under which he is placed. "So much is asked of me; it really makes me take my time and buckle down and knock everything out," he said.

This semester, McDonald is a supply noncommissioned officer and will be in charge of furniture accountability, vehicle registration and monitoring the mess hall.

"I don't think I would be doing as well as I am if I went to another school," he said. "More is asked of me [at West Point] so I produce more."

McDonald is also a member of West Point's sprint football team. Sprint football is played under the same rules as regular collegiate football, but all players must weigh less than 165.9 pounds 48 hours before a game. West Point is one of five schools that competes in the Collegiate Sprint Football League.

Last summer, McDonald divided his time between being a squad leader at West Point's Camp Buckner and receiving Special Reaction Team training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. At Fort Leonard Wood, McDonald attended classes on military situations he might face. Then, he trained with live fire and simunitions, a type of ammunition similar to paintballs. As part of his training, he was placed in fabricated military situations that were set up in buildings.

"I'd like to think I'm well-prepared to face the adversaries and that I'm prepared for the consequences," McDonald said.

Upon graduation, McDonald will be commissioned a second lieutenant and will lead a platoon in armor or field artillery.

- Caitlin O'Grady

Nature programs set at Mount Pleasant Farm

The Howard County Conservancy is presenting nature programs at Mount Pleasant Farm for preschoolers and their parents or caregivers, beginning Jan. 27.

The Tuesday morning programs - also scheduled Feb. 10, Feb. 24, March 9 and March 23 - will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and include stories, crafts and a short nature walk, weather permitting.

The cost is $2 for members and $3 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required.

Mount Pleasant Farm is at 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock.

Information: 410-465-8877.

Birth

Cole McKee: To Sheila and Stephen Borror of Woodbine on Dec. 27.

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