Four students in the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps were awarded scholarships totaling more than $800,000.
Three of the Air Force Junior ROTC students, Katia Baita, Sarah Munnigh, and Connor Smith, were awarded 3-year Army ROTC Scholarships. They are attending Stetson University.
Additionally, Doreen Barrett, another Air Force Junior ROTC student, now at college studying International Business, was presented with a one-year scholarship to Stetson University valued at $52,250.
“I set winning this scholarship as a goal,” Doreen says, “This is a very big deal to me and my family. When I face obstacles in life, I think of the people whom I look up to: My family, my teachers, and don’t want to disappoint them. So, I won’t give up, and when I succeed, feel good about what has been accomplished.”
This year’s scholarship is a beginning for Doreen, “After this year, I will be looking to compete for a 3-year scholarship. I plan to stay in ROTC and after graduation, will serve in the Army.”
Head of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Leesburg High School is retired Maj. Christopher Honeycutt, M.S., United States Air Force, who also served as the senior aerospace science instructor at the high school for the past three years. He and Master Sgt. Craig Morris, who has been with the program for 17 years, teach leadership skills to students in the program.
“The first year I was here, we had a student win a scholarship to The Citadel. In the past three years, our students have been awarded scholarships totaling between $1.4 and $1.5 million,” Maj. Honeycutt says, “That’s the highest level of scholarships Leesburg High School has ever received.”
Sarah Munnigh, another scholarship winner, is using her scholarship at Stetson University to study health sciences. Her plans include medical school and becoming a physician.
“At five years of age, I wore a stethoscope while playing. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. Serving others is very important to me,” she says. “That’s why the military life appeals to me. It’s like a second family. It offers a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood while helping to better myself.
“Maj. Honeycutt has been a strong role model, like my parents, showing me how to continually become the most you can be.”
“Winning a scholarship is a combination of GPA, SAT scores, academics and the whole person,” says Maj. Honeycutt. “We work to prepare the JROTC cadets at the highest level.”
To assist them in the application process, Maj. Honeycutt, and Master Sgt. Morris, who works primarily with new cadets, prepare JROTC students for what to expect and how to be ready.
“In September, for instance, we are taking this year’s students to an SAT Bootcamp,” Major Honeycutt says. Extra efforts such as these obviously pay off.
“When these students graduate from the university, they will be commissioned officers and will enter the army as second lieutenants.”
The 3-year Army ROTC scholarships are valued at $249,500 per student, and along with the Stetson award, have a total value of $800,750 given to Leesburg High School students this year.