South Western alum honored by Trump at West Point graduation
In a sea of hundreds of chairs spread 6 feet apart, President Donald Trump searched for South Western High School graduate Lynne "Lindy" Mooradian to give her a shout-out during her military academy graduation.
“No one modeled the values of the soldier scholar quite like Lindy Mooradian," he said June 13 at the academy in West Point, New York.
Mooradian, 22, said she didn't know the recognition was coming.
"I was very pleasantly surprised and a little panicked," she said, noting she usually isn't big on having the spotlight, but saw it as an honor.
Mooradian grew up in Hanover with a military family — her father, a naval academy graduate and her mother, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force — and once she saw her brother thrive at West Point, she knew it was the place for her.
Trump went on to say Mooradian had earned the overall highest class standing and highest physical program score, published scientific research in a prominent journal and set five new records on the athletic track.
A mechanical engineering major, Mooradian researched applying mechanics to blood flow to predict predisposed conditions and was published in the Rheologica Acta journal, and still holds four of her five track records.
She was also named to the 2019-20 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America NCAA Division I Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Team for a third consecutive year Thursday.
"It was never really about that for me," she said of breaking records, noting that she wanted to contribute to the team in positive way.
At South Western, her head cross country coach Bruce Lee and assistant track coach/English teacher Jill Lenick helped shape her as a person and build resilience and discipline for the academy, she said.
"Right now, America needs a class of cadets that lives by your motto, 'with vision we lead,'" Trump said.
Mooradian's mother, Deborah, said her daughter had always done well in school with academics and athletics, but she knew West Point was going to be tough.
"He basically told her you’re not going to get straight A’s at West Point," she said of Mooradian's brother, adding, "she proved him wrong."
Though her mother knew Mooradian would have the opportunity to meet the president, she didn't know she would be one of six called out that day.
But huddled with her husband and other parents in a hotel lobby watching the ceremony, she could tell where Trump was going once he started his speech.
"We’re obviously really proud of her,and she’s worked really hard to get that kind of recognition," she said.
Mooradian earned a Marshall scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in England for two years and will then return to become an officer in the U.S. Army.