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Nancy Mace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   NancyMace was 18 when she entered The Citadel, the world-famous militarycollege in Charleston, South Carolina. The Citadel is 154 years old andwas only open to men until 1995, when the courts forced the school toaccept women. In 1997 Nancy Mace was one of four women toenroll.

She had an immense amount of courage to attend such achallenging college, but she was not the first in her family. Herfather, Emory Mace, is a retired Army general and The Citadel's mostdecorated living graduate.

When she arrived, Nancy had tocut her hair and learn military language: "Sir, yes, sir! Sir, no,sir!" The first week was known as "Hell Week," and Nancyhas said that's exactly what it was. Outside students' rooms they werenot allowed to speak unless spoken to. The physical-training tests werealso tough, but she beat 145 of 150 cadets in the two-mile run andmanaged to do 59 push-ups and 70 sit-ups.

As if the trainingwasn't enough, she also had to deal with the attitudes of her maleclassmates and even professors, who weren't always welcoming. Herprofessors called her "Mr. Mace" and people hissed when hername was mentioned at an assembly. She has said that in class the desksaround her were the last to be filled. Entering a formerly all-maleinstitution was extremely challenging, but in May 1999, she became thefirst female graduate.

Nancy Mace is remarkably determined. Therewere so many reasons for her to leave The Citadel, but she remained.I've always been interested in a military education, but have had doubtsabout whether I'd be able to do it. Nancy has given me hope. She was putunder tremendous pressure, but succeeded. I admire her greatly.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Daffe10 said...
Oct. 28, 2011 at 12:31 am:
I literally just finished her book and LOVED it! Before I read it, I thought it would be cool to attend the Air Force Academy, but now that is exactly what I want to do. I know they are two different colleges, but still. Nancy Mace is my inspiration!
 
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