My name is Jalle Renee Merritt, pronounced like “Halley”…as in Halle Berry (the actress) that is – fun fact: I was actually named after her. Anyway, I was an army brat my whole life but finally settled for high school in El Paso, Texas. I’m currently a 3/c cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. I graduated high school from Maxine L. Silva Magnet High School for Health Professions right across (literally) the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Then by an interesting series of events, I got an appointment to head on up here to my new home: New London, Connecticut. Currently, I am working toward a bachelor’s degree in Government.
In a one word, being a cadet here at the academy is AMAZING! I’ve been here for going on two years and have had the opportunity to do so many things. I’m in Officers’ Christian Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Protestant Choir and Sustainability Club. I’m also the treasurer/program coordinator of Genesis Council, a diversity council here. I regularly go to the community dances that the Academy holds one weekend every month. Last year, I got to attend a Spanish social at West Point and the 17th Annual Black Solidarity Conference hosted by Yale University, which was beyond great. That just kind of shows you the opportunities you get here as a cadet.
Militarily, my 3/c summer was far more than I could ask for. The first six weeks I spent down at a Coast Guard station in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Basically, it was paradise, not just because of the area, but because of all of the experience I gained from being out in the fleet in such a busy Coast Guard area. The second six weeks I spent on USCGC Barque Eagle. At first I honestly dreaded going, but I ended up having a great time aboard. Truly, during the summer I gained a love for the sea and its lore.
Now a few last things about me: I speak Spanish, I’m half Panamanian and half black, lived in Germany for seven years, love all kinds of dance and I love taking road trips, flying, hiking, running—basically any type of travel. Oh, and my favorite food is steak and potatoes. I mean--I am from Texas after all.
Hope you enjoy my blog! :)