When April Ramos Baraconi was 6, she wore fatigues and played army in the fields near San Juan Capistrano.
Lask week, Baraconi, a high school senior--and an 11th-generation Juaneno Mission Indian--was in Washington for a Young Leaders National Conference.
And next, she hopes to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
An Orange County admissions coordinator for the academy said Wednesday that Baraconi is probably one of the first Native Americans from Orange County to seek admission at West Point.
Competition is formidable.
In Orange County, about 150 students a year seek admission to West Point, said Edgar Johnson, county admissions coordinator, and about 14 or 15 make it.
Nationwide, about 14,000 apply, and roughly 1,000 will be accepted, Johnson said.
Baraconi must pass muster with the academy and then be nominated by either local U.S. Rep. Ron Packard (R-Oceanside), U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein or U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Baraconi is a student at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. She has also been a volunteer.
Baraconi is a descendant of Spanish soldiers who settled in San Juan Capistrano.
Each of the 11 generations of her family has ties to the military.
“It’s really been amazing to me the support I’ve had from the community, my friends, family and their friends,” she said.