Jabreal Arrington, a graduate of Lancaster High School in Lancaster ISD, made history on Saturday. She was one of 34 African American women who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the 2019 class. That was the highest number of African American women to graduate, in the same class, from the prestigious military institution in the schools 217-year history.
Arrington and the other women were all in the now-viral picture taken on the school’s campus.
"At the time it was just a picture! We were just coming together," Arrington said. "I was thinking they were all my sisters and we have all been through the same experiences. This is just something that every single class of African American women at West Point do."
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She said the picture was the idea of the first African American, female graduate from West Point, Pat Locke.
"Pat Locke, the very first African American woman graduate. She was like 'You guys have to take this picture. This is absolutely mandatory'. It just became like a really big thing," Arrington said.
While she is sure of her journey now, Arrington said her path to the U.S. Army wasn’t always certain.
"I really didn’t know what I wanted to do up until around sophomore year of high school. I was kind of all over the place. I wanted to be a teacher and a dancer. I had all these wild dreams that I guess I never pursued," said Arrington.
She said that it was at Lancaster High School that she realized what her purpose was.
"When I joined JROTC it just became clear to me that I wanted to lead," said Arrington.
Arrington said she is going to enjoy a little bit of a break after a long five years of hard work at West Point. She won’t be resting for long though. She will soon head to Fort Sill in Oklahoma for an officer leadership course. After that, she will report to Fort Bliss for her first official duty station.
One thing is for sure.
"This is not the end of the road for me. This is just the first step to a lifetime of achievement and success," Arrington said. "Just like, being the best that I can be for everyone who developed me and mentored me and pushed me and took me to that next level."