New Mexico Youth ChalleNGe Platoon Sgt. Phylicia Sampson, 16, leads her platoon in phyisical training during a 10 a.m. break between classes. (Tess Townsend Photo)
The time is 12 p.m. sharp on Sept. 25. Phylicia Sampson sits erect at a table in the cafeteria of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. She is wearing a black polo, and her light brown hair is tied back in a tight pony tail. She is not wearing makeup.
In front of her is a divided lunch tray.
The 16-year-old alternates between picking at the biscuit in one section of her plate, and munching on slices of fruit in another section.
She doesn’t touch the lasagna in the center.
“Oh, I don’t like lasagna,” she says sheepishly.
Her admission serves as a rare break from an otherwise rigid demeanor. Sampson speaks in an even voice as she responds to any yes-no question asked by the reporter Login to read more