BOLTON LANDING - A former cheerleader and softball pitcher at Bolton High School is headed off overseas next month to serve for a year in Iraq as a soldier in the U.S. Army.
Kaila French, 18, the daughter of Bernie and Lisa French, is a private in the 543rd Military Police Company, stationed at Fort Drum.
Friday, French was introduced to the Warren County Board of Supervisors, who wished her the best in her endeavor and paid her tribute for her service to the country. After the meeting, she was greeted by many well-wishers in attendance.
A member of Bolton's Class of 2008, Kaila was captain of the Bolton Central Cheerleading squad, and was for three years a standout pitcher for the school's softball team.
In her junior year, when she was one of the team's three pitchers, the team was undefeated in the regular season.
During those for high school years she was studying, cheering at basketball games and hurling fastballs, she was also considering service in the Army, she said Monday.
"I knew it was the best position for me, because I'm a very structured person," she said. "It was a good career choice because I want to get into law enforcement."
At the age of 13 or so, Kaila announced her intentions to her parents, Bernie and Lisa French.
It was quite a surprise, Kaila's father said.
"Years ago, Kaila sat us down and said she didn't want to go to college but wanted to go into the service," Bernie French said. "She never changed her mind since."
During the first semester of Kaila's senior year, she signed up in the Army's delayed entry program, she said.
"I felt that serving my country was something I had to do," she said.
In July 2008, she left Bolton for basic training.