Senior leaving casual atmosphere of CRMS for military life of Citadel |

Senior leaving casual atmosphere of CRMS for military life of Citadel

Marina Daniel strolls freely over the paths that wind through Carbondale’s scenic Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus. She takes in the views of Mount Sopris while reminiscing about her four years at the private school and the legacy she and her classmates will leave behind.

Daniel, a native of Glenwood Springs, is one of 46 seniors graduating from CRMS this Saturday.

When she heads to college this fall, her life will change drastically. Daniel is one of but a handful of females accepted to attend The Citadel, an elite military school on the banks of the Ashley River in Charleston, S.C.

The college chose her as much as she chose it, she said. She had visited the Charleston area on numerous occasions and had considered the school, the alma mater of her grandmother’s first husband, for quite some time.

While she is a strong student, physically and academically, her agility and ability in sports got her in.

“Last year, I tried out for the volleyball team and they offered me a full-ride scholarship,” she said proudly. Daniel plans to major in computer science.

According to its website, The Citadel, also known as “The Military College of South Carolina,” was established in 1822 when the South Carolina Legislature passed an “An Act to Establish a Competent Force to act as a Municipal Guard for the Protection of the City of Charleston and Vicinity.” For more than 170 years, it was open only to men; it only began accepting women in 1996. Daniel will be one of only about 200 females at the 2,000-student school.

Daniel is prepared for the rigors and structure of the 180-year-old military institution. “It’s just like any other military school,” she said, flashing a bright smile. “You’re up at 5 a.m.”

There is one major difference between The Citadel and other military schools, said Daniel. “It’s the only military school that doesn’t require you to enlist.” That’s a good thing, since Daniel has no intention of making a career out of the military.

A breeze swept across the CRMS campus, causing the aspens and cottonwoods to quake. On her tall, athletic frame, Daniel sported stylish black and white slacks, a black sleeveless shirt, and matching black and white striped sandals. Her earlobes were lined with numerous gold rings and posts. A silver dolphin bracelet wrapped around her left wrist. This fall, she’ll wear a uniform.

Daniel, the daughter of Renee and Andras Daniel of Glenwood Springs, considered colleges in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, but opted for the challenges of The Citadel.

It won’t be easy, admitted Daniel.

Consider that the school demands a physical fitness test as part of its admission requirement, and that an iron is a required personal item.

Short hair is also a requirement. Daniel has been trimming a little of the ends of her blond-streaked hair every few days for the past two weeks in preparation for the required haircut she’ll get when she arrives at school this fall.

Daniel is no stranger to discipline, dedication and hard work.

Daniel attended Aspen Elementary School through fourth grade, St. Stephen’s Catholic School in fifth and sixth grade, and Riverside School in New Castle in seventh and eighth grade.

At CRMS, she learned to kayak, mountain bike and rock climb. She played for the CRMS soccer team, but since CRMS doesn’t offer all of the traditional team sports, such as football and basketball, she played volleyball her sophomore and junior year at Glenwood Springs High School and her senior year for Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.

She also swam freestyle her freshman through junior years for GSHS, and was on the diving team her junior year.

She also worked hard academically.

“I don’t know what my GPA is,” admitted Daniel. CRMS places more emphasis on excellence in community service and how much each individual brings to the classroom than it does on grade point averages.

“I think CRMS is more about what you want to do with your life and how you can get there,” she said.

Walking the trails of the peaceful CRMS campus, past its organic gardens, dormitories and unique architecture, Daniel admitted she’ll miss CRMS, her teachers and classmates. “The people that I’ve met here, I know that I’ll be really good friends with for a long time.”

Daniel will leave home, but in a way she is heading home, she said. Her mother hails from Charleston and she has several relatives there.

From her many summer visits, Daniel said she loves Charleston, a place known for its southern architecture, stately charm and steamy summer nights.

But the Roaring Fork Valley will always be with her.

“Glenwood,” she said, “will always be my home.”

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