Future leaders: Washington County students receive ROTC scholarships

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – After a lengthy and arduous competition process, local students Cody Perry, Nathan Wilson and Christian Harrison have received ROTC scholarships, guaranteeing admission to the university of their choice followed by military service.

Cody Perry | Photo courtesy of Kara Perry
Cody Perry | Photo courtesy of Kara Perry

Perry, Wilson and Harrison are members of Dixie JROTC (AFJROTC Dixie Wing UT-20061), the Air Force JROTC chapter affiliated with Dixie High School. They are all four-year senior cadets who have dedicated numerous hours of community service, JROTC training and teaching lower-level cadets leadership and management practices.

With the guidance of commanding officers at Dixie JROTC, Perry, Wilson and Harrison submitted applications detailing their JROTC, academic, social and personal achievements. They participated in one-on-one interviews, medical and fitness tests and other challenges necessary to ensure their success in the ROTC and military.

ROTC scholarships are awarded to students who excel academically and demonstrate a dedication to the community, the nation and their own successful future. Thousands of young men and women from across the United States apply each year, but only an elite few are chosen. The majority of scholarships cover full college tuition, including monthly expense allowances, laboratory and material fees. Scholarship values can exceed $100,000, depending on the student’s school of choice and type of award received.

“These students are joining a very special and select group of young adults,” Dixie JROTC Sgt. Gerald Thomas said. “They are truly gifted students and future leaders of America.”

Nathan Wilson | Photo courtesy of Sgt. Gerald Thomas
Nathan Wilson | Photo courtesy of Sgt. Gerald Thomas

Focusing on the Air Force and Navy, Dixie JROTC’s curriculum consists of 40 percent aerospace science education, 40 percent leadership education and 20 percent physical fitness training. Cadets can also earn their pilot’s license. A major part of the cadet experience is community service, including fundraisers, service projects and assisting in emergency situations; over 60 cadets from Dixie JROTC volunteered in the cleanup efforts following the Santa Clara flood of Sept. 11, 2012.

JROTC is the high school equivalent of ROTC, which students attend while in college. Members receive similar education and training but unlike ROTC, students who enroll in JROTC have no military obligation, though it is encouraged.  Regardless of what career path JROTC cadets choose, Thomas said they will benefit from the tools for success provided by the organization.

Perry, 18, lives in Santa Clara and is a senior at Snow Canyon High School, avid cyclist and cook at the Pasta Factory. He joined Dixie JROTC to earn his pilot’s license and eventually join the military to further his career as a pilot. After learning of ROTC scholarship opportunities, he decided to pursue one.

“These scholarships are hard to come by but definitely worth the effort, especially for students that are having a hard time (paying) for college in this difficult economic climate,” Perry said.

Christian Harrison | Photo courtesy of Sgt. Gerald Thomas
Christian Harrison | Photo courtesy of Sgt. Gerald Thomas

His dedication paid off when he received a four-year out-of-state NROTC scholarship worth over $140,000. He will attend Arizona State University in the fall to study aerospace engineering. After graduating college, he will join the Navy.

A senior at Pine View High School, Wilson, 18, lives in Washington City with his parents and younger brother. He has an older sister living in New York and older brother serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His interests range from pottery to Mandarin Chinese and outdoor activities. Like Perry, he earned his pilot’s license through Dixie JROTC.

“ROTC is highly competitive but a great route to take,” Wilson said. “They help pay for college and you will graduate as a military officer, which many people aspire to be.”

Wilson received a three-year out-of-state AFROTC scholarship worth approximately $70,000. He will embark on a mission for the LDS Church to Taipei, Taiwan this summer. When he returns, he will attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., where he plans to major in both global security and intelligence studies and Mandarin Chinese. After graduating college, he will enroll in the Air Force.

Harrison, 17, attends Hurricane High School and lives in LaVerkin with a single mother who raised him, his three brothers and two sisters. Born with two club feet that required surgery, he overcame adversity at a young age and went on to play football for the Hurricane Tigers for two years.

(L-R) Cody Perry, Nathan Wilson and Christian Harrison receive commendations from their commanding officer, St. George, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Kara Perry

He became involved in JROTC in the eighth grade through a friend. At the time, Harrison said he had no intention of joining the military, but is now passionate about serving.

“ROTC can be an amazing and rewarding program if you’re willing to put in the time and effort in,” he said. “This program has given me a jump-start on life. I want to thank all those who have helped me get to this point. I never could have done it on my own.”

Harrison received a four-year in-state AFROTC scholarship. The exact value varies with annual tuition rates and includes $900 for materials and a $250 monthly allowance. He will attend Brigham Young University following a two-year mission for the LDS Church. After graduating, he will join the Air Force.

Opportunities for passionate young men and women who want to build a future for themselves in education, the military and beyond abound through JROTC and ROTC. Perry, Wilson and Harrison are prime examples of the benefit a structured organization with firm values can have on youth.

“If you wish to earn an ROTC scholarship, you need to plan ahead and strive to stand out in a way that will make people want you,” Wilson said. “Demonstrate leadership, initiative and all-around good character. If you try hard enough, it could be yours.”

For more information on JROTC, ROTC and the opportunities they provide, contact Dixie JROTC at 435-634-4339 or visit their website.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News
Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.