Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Front Page Profile

from today's Waukesha Freeman --

Catholic Memorial graduate driven to join U.S. Army

By Joe Petrie Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA – Ever since Catholic Memorial High School graduate Ellen Chamberlin was 12 years old, she has focused her post-high school career on one goal – the U.S. Army.

“There’s such a challenge there and I like that,” she said. “When you get through that, it’s such a rewarding experience.”

To prepare for life in the military, Chamberlin disciplined herself throughout high school and played soccer to condition herself to take physical pain and the rigor of physical activity.

Now as a graduate of Catholic Memorial, Chamberlin, 18, of Elm Grove, is set to embark on her military career and her high aspirations have led her to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Chamberlin said she wanted to join the military but her mom was the one who told her about West Point, and since Chamberlin first heard the name of the institution, she said she has been focused on it.

Although women were not allowed to attend West Point until the 1970s, Chamberlin said she’s not overly concerned about being in an institution where few women have gone through, saying it’s just another part of challenging herself.

“I’m excited to reach new levels and to see how far I can push myself,” she said. “And the fact is it’s a different experience than just going to college or waiting to attend college later. I thought it would be interesting and the (Army) offers me the opportunity to travel and you need good mental and physical training, and I love a challenge.”

John Burke, head coach of the CMH girls soccer team, said Chamberlin is one of the most driven and ethical players he has ever had on the team and would not be surprised to see her someday as a heavily decorated general.

“She’s self-driven, which is a remarkable quality to see in someone so young,” he said. “Most kids, you encourage them and drive them to step up and do great things, but she does a tremendous job of training herself. I’ve never had to tell her to train hard in the offseason and she leads by example.”

Chamberlin said she will leave for basic training June 26 and will attend the academy in the fall. While it may seem like a tough road for other women who may be considering a similar path, Chamberlin said the potential reward and the ability to later train and make people better are goals well worth pursuing.

“You have to dedicate yourself to your goal,” she said. “You have to dedicate yourself in more ways than one.”

Photo Credit: Kevin Harnack/Freeman Staff Catholic Memorial High School graduate Ellen Chamberlin will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

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