DERRY — She has lofty dreams and will have a summer full of experiences to help her soar.
Shawn Grinnell, 16, has been named Pinkerton Academy first-ever female commander of the school’s JROTC program.
The Derry student is away for several weeks this summer to attend a summer program at the U.S. Air Force Academy and will then move on to another program through the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar program.
She also is one of three students in the state selected for a summer flight program, where she will eventually be trained to solo by the end of the summer. She will then return to the Pinkerton classroom as a senior group commander.
It’s not just a love of flight and an eventual career in the Air Force that is keeping Shawn busy this summer.
She has a lot of tradition and history in her family line, including a pilot father and a great-grandfather, George Grinnell, a notable local judge and also a pilot. She is also related to first American in space, Alan B. Shepard.
“They were all big influences on me,” Shawn said.
This summer will keep Shawn very busy, not only with the Naval Academy studies, but she also will be part of the annual Girls State program and will be traveling to Ecuador for a church mission trip.
Pinkerton JROTC advisor Col. Howie Steadman said Shawn has the right stuff to be a great leader.
“She is dedicated to JROTC and is also an excellent student,” Steadman said. “She is the right person.”
Her peers and superiors all thought Shawn would make a great commander.
For Shawn, it’s an opportunity to fine tune her leadership and responsibility duties, and learn as much as she can before graduation from high school in 2015.