‘I’m dedicated because I want this to be my career’

Ayla Thayer arrives to school at 6:30 a.m. every morning ready to work. She does 50 jumping jacks, 50 pushups and 50 situps and is learning the ins and outs of becoming a military citizen. Ayla is part of Capital High School’s Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program.

Her focus — to have a career in the military and attend West Point Military Academy.

“I’m a girl, short and love America, but that isn’t stopping me from my passion,” said the Capital High School senior.

Ayla is going through the West Point Military Academy application process, which she started junior year. She has done physical and mental exams, an academic review, and received a letter of recommendation from U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson.

Ayla is waiting to find out if she will be accepted into West Point Military Academy.

“It is challenging,” Ayla said. “It wasn’t just going through the process, but training and preparing for it.”

She wants to serve in the military because her mother is an immigrant from the Philippines and Ayla realizes what a privilege it is to live in the United States.

“I’m grateful to live in America and I want to help keep it great,” she said.“I want to achieve all I can. I’m dedicated because I want this to be my career.”

Ayla knew West Point Military Academy was the best option because she wants to attend college first and then serve in the military. She joined the JROTC program junior year to prepare for training and to get ahead.

“Ayla is very committed to service to the nation,” said Lt. Col. Dave Wallinger. “She is the type of student and person that keeps teachers in education.”

Ayla participates in JROTC five days a week for seven hours. She is developing physical, leadership and marching formation skills. She is also part of Borah High School’s military drill team and owns a 3.8 grade-point average.

“Ayla is always willing to do what it takes, to do what she needs to do, and encourages the people around her to be successful,” said Sharon Cates, a chemistry teacher at Capital High School.

Ayla has been accepted to Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho and applied to University of Texas and University of Washington. If she doesn’t get into West Point Military Academy this year, she plans to apply again next year. She wants to major in engineering and would like to work in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field career.

Fun facts about Ayla Thayer

  • Favorite drink? Blended dino egg rebel from Dutch Bros.
  • Favorite sport to watch? Tennis
  • What are the first three songs on your current music playlist? “No Roots” by Alice Merton, “Let you Down” by NF and “Left Right Left” by Charlie Puth
  • You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? Philippines
  • Three things you can’t live without? Dutch Bros., music and friends.
  • Favorite emoji 

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