Izzy Landry on ‘her own stride’ towards her dreams

Cameryn Smith

Junior Isabelle (Izzy) Landry has been training with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (Sea Cadets) for nearly three years. Based on Yerba Buena Island in the San Francisco Bay, this naval development program welcomes everyone ages 10-18 and gives aspiring cadets the opportunity to train at the military level. The Sea Cadets program consists of drills occurring every two Sundays where members meet to practice drills and organize future participation in parades and memorial services.  

From a young age, Izzy has never given up, even after joining a strenuous program that tests her physical and mental strength. Not only has her work ethic been evident as she’s progressed through the program, but also from the start. Ever since listening to a teacher’s story in sixth grade, she’s known she’s wanted to go to the Naval Academy. 

Welcoming civilians onto the boat for fleet week, junior Izzy Landry (right) waits with Alondra Ordonez, another sea cadet (Photo courtesy of Izzy Landry)

“My [math teacher’s story] was what kicked my interest in [going to a military academy]. I started talking to people about [the program] and found more information. With more information, I got more interested,” Izzy said.

When initially researching the program, it was a difficult process for Izzy because it was difficult to find information on how to apply. But Izzy took it upon herself to do whatever she could in order to make her dreams a reality. Because Izzy had to reach out to many different people to apply, she offers help to anyone who may be interested in the program. 

“I emailed [the organization], they didn’t respond. I emailed them again, they didn’t respond. I had to get a lot of connections to reach out to them. So if anyone is interested, I recommend that they go to me so I can connect them,” Izzy said.

Before entering the program and becoming a member of the Sea Cadets, one must go on base to see if they are physically and mentally able. Once Izzy was committed to joining the program, it was mandatory for her to attend basic training without electronics and with real military leaders. Despite how rigorous the training was, Izzy felt accomplished afterwards. 

“You’re physically stronger after [the training], which is really great,” Izzy said. “You feel like you’re on top of the world.”

Walking up the steps of the ship, the Sea Cadets prepare to watch the fleet week air show from the middle of the ocean. (Photo courtesy of Izzy Landry)

Additionally, Izzy is an avid mountain biker and rides whenever she can, rarely missing a day each week. She started at just eight years old, and has always shown bravery while riding, whether it was with new trails or higher speeds. This characteristic has translated into her work with the Sea Cadets. 

“I felt really comfortable being uncomfortable [with new mountain biking trails]. I think that has really helped me and [is one of the reasons] why I love the [Sea Cadets] program so much,” Izzy said.

Izzy’s effort and persistence has not gone unnoticed, especially as she gets older and has more schoolwork. Kristina Svendsen Landry, Izzy’s mom, is constantly impressed by her drive in every aspect of life. 

“Izzy takes things on and she does them well,”  Kristina said. “She doesn’t just go in halfway … She’s always putting everything into [her commitments].”

Similarly, Cassidy Potter, a junior at Tamalpais High School and one of Izzy’s close friends, has noticed this as one of Izzy’s standout qualities. 

“She perseveres and works really hard to get where she is and what she wants,” Potter said.

After listening to Izzy’s story of her first week of training, Potter admired her strength. 

“All the stuff she told me was super grueling [and seemed like] hard work, but she made it through and not a lot of people do. I was completely amazed with that and the fact that she’s working with [the program],” Potter said. 

This month, Izzy will attend an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) training in Rhode Island as part of the Sea Cadets program. These training camps are an opportunity to gain instruction on numerous skills ranging from culinary to hunting. Izzy is currently meeting the excellent standard for her physical test, so she won’t have to prepare for her training like members typically would. Meeting this standard multiple times has given Izzy recognition in her work.

Standing on a helicopter landing pad next to two helicopters, the Sea Cadets look at the USS Harpers ferry. (Photo courtesy of Izzy Landry)

Placed on her uniform, Izzy has earned a variety of medals and ribbons all signifying different achievements, whether it’s for meeting the physical standard or maintaining a high grade-point average. Through this unique program, Izzy has found her passion and her confidence has increased.

“She’s found her own stride,” Kristina said. 

Constantly impressing everyone around her, Izzy has shown perseverance through everything she does and will continue to follow her dreams, all the while remaining humble. 

“I just want to be seen as just a normal girl who’s doing what I’m able to do [with the Sea Cadets program] and show other people that they can do this program too,” Izzy said.