Family’s legacy continued
Maggie Straub was in the third grade the first time she remembers declaring she would attend Virginia Military Institute.
If she’d been allowed to join that year, she would have been one of less than 80 females there during the 2002-03 school year.
Today, while the number of female cadets has changed – the school reporting it to be 10 percent of the total enrollment – Straub’s desire to join the ratline has not.
The Christiansburg High School senior’s wish was granted in November when she received an early enrollment acceptance letter. She’ll enter VMI as a freshman next fall.
According to a VMl spokesperson, Straub is the second known female from the New River Valley to attend the school and the first from Montgomery County.
One thing she won’t be, though, is the first Straub to attend.
Her father, Charlie, is a member of the class of 1963, her uncle Joe, class of 1965 and her grandfather Charles was a member of the class of 1936. Charles Straub was also a hall-of-fame football player for the institute.
Maggie Straub said she was thrilled to see her third-grade dream becoming a reality and her family’s tradition continued.
But this wasn’t always the case, she admitted.
In fact, she was strongly considering going elsewhere until a visit to the school last year changed her mind.
“Maggie would look at everything any school would send in the mail,” said Charlie Straub.
“That kind of worried me. She really visited [VMI] to make her daddy happy. But afterwards, she got in the car and said, ‘Dad, this is where I’m coming to school.’”
During the visit, Maggie Straub said she saw not only could females be successful at VMI, but they generally seemed to enjoy it.
“They actually acted like they liked it a lot more than the guys,” she said.
Seeing the female cadets’ level-headed nature and their ability to work as a team were also factors that changed her mind.
Females have only been admitted to VMI since 1997, and it has not always been with a warm reception, according to Charlie Straub.
Straub said he remembers some former cadets being adamantly opposed to females being admitted to VMI. His closest college friends, however, are much the opposite.
“My best friends are my VMI roommates,” he said, “I talk to them weekly and they all want to talk about Maggie.”
Maggie Straub understands this might not be the most popular decision in some people’s eyes and admits she’s taken a little heat for it.
She recalled one of her Christiansburg classmates telling her she was going to come back a man and said she’s even had a few of her friends’ parents question her decision.
“They’ll say stuff like, ‘Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?’ or, ‘you’re signing your life away,’” she said.
But she doesn’t let that faze her, she said.
“‘It’s not your life,’” she tells them,
“I’m not going to live my life as ordinary as possible, I want it to be extraordinary.”
And that’s exactly what Maggie Straub plans to do
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643