NWFMOA Awards $39,500 in Scholarships to Local JROTC and ROTC Cadets

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By Dave Parisot, President of NWFMOA Scholarship Fund, Inc.

The Northwest Florida Military Officers Association (NWFMOA) held its 10th annual Scholarship & Awards Luncheon on May 2nd at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. Primary ‘guests of honor’ were 10 Junior ROTC cadets of six local high schools who were awarded college scholarships and two local ROTC cadets entering their junior and senior years of college. Also honored were seven local JROTC cadets in their junior year of high school who received the MOAA Medal (Military Officers Association of America), and three cadets of the Navarre H.S. Navy JROTC who received appointments to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point.

Northwest Florida Military Officers Association Scholarship WinnersTen MOAA Medal scholarships totaling $31,500 were awarded to local high school JROTC cadets—nine at $3,000 each and one at $4,500. Awardees must be a local JROTC cadet, have high academic scores, have demonstrated leadership skills in their high school JROTC and school activities, and show potential for a future commission in our armed forces, along with community service activities. Scholarship awardees must attend college full-time and enroll in their college ROTC program:

Cadet Angelina Romano of Fort Walton Beach H.S. received the “Lt. Col., USAF, Ret., James ‘Jim’ and Mrs. Una Heavener Memorial Scholarship” of $4,500.

Cadet Victoria Beckworth of Baker School received the “Dr. (Lt. Col., USAFR, Ret.), Howard and Mrs. Irene Fisher Scholarship.”

Cadet Griffin Woodley of Niceville H.S. received the “Dr. (Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.) Frederick and Mrs. Janet Westfall Scholarship.”

Cadet Jason Bollenbach of Choctawhatchee H.S. was awarded the “Colonel Karl, USAF, Ret., and Mrs. Charlotte Eschmann Scholarship.”
Cadet Reese Sayer of Navarre H.S. received the “Mrs. Chong (Kim) Parisot Memorial Scholarship.”

Cadet Jade Bradley of Fort Walton Beach H.S. was awarded the “Colonel William ‘Bil’ Byerley, USAF, Ret., Memorial Scholarship.”

Cadet Alexander Bollenbach of Choctawhatchee H.S. was awarded the “Colonel Hampton, USAF, Ret, and Mrs. Nancy Kenaston Memorial Scholarship.”

Cadet Akadian Campbell of Baker School received the “Major William ‘Bill’ Van Hoesen, USA, Ret., Memorial Scholarship.”

Cadet Franchesca Howard of Choctawhatchee H.S. was awarded the “Colonel Troy Dent, USAF, Ret., Memorial Scholarship.”

Cadet Lauren Bage of Choctawhatchee H.S. was awarded the “Colonel Melvin Bryant, USAF, Ret. Memorial Scholarship.”

Two scholarships of $4,000 each were awarded to two local ROTC cadets: Air Force ROTC Cadet Jeffrey Tavarez, a 2021 graduate of Choctawhatchee H.S. and JROTC, who will be a senior at Embry Riddle University with a major in aerospace and occupational safety; and Air Force ROTC Cadet Logan Herron, a 2022 graduate of Navarre H.S. and JROTC and a junior at the University of Florida with a major in astrophysics.

Five previous scholarship awardees were also recognized who are being commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force this year. Having our previous scholarship awardees receive a military commission is the primary way we measure the success of our scholarship programs. Of the 18 scholarships we paid out since 2015 who have been in college long enough to complete ROTC, 12 awardees (65%) will have been commissioned by the end of 2024. This follows the motto of the NWFMOA Scholarship Fund: “Helping to Build Future Military Officers and Leaders.”

Kayla McCarthy, a 2020 graduate of Navarre H.S. and Navy JROTC, was commissioned a 2Lt in the U.S. Air Force on May 8th. She is a 2024 graduate of the University of South Florida and Air Force ROTC and will report to Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., for pilot training.

Anthony Rodas, a 2020 graduate of Crestview H.S. and Army JROTC, was commissioned a 2LT in the U.S. Army on May 3rd. 2LT Rodas is a 2024 graduate of the University of West Florida and its Army ROTC, going into Air Defense Artillery.

Kathrynn Dunn, a 2021 graduate of Crestview H.S. and Army JROTC, was also commissioned a 2LT in the U.S. Army Reserves on May 3rd. 2LT Dunn is a 2024 graduate of the University of West Florida and its Army ROTC, and will attend the Army Military Intelligence training at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., this summer.

Two additional previous JROTC scholarship awardees will be commissioned in the U.S. Army this year. Army ROTC Cadet Sean Ripley of Blinn University, Tex., will be commissioned a second lieutenant via ROTC at Texas A&M University. Ripley is a 2020 graduate of Niceville H.S. and Air Force JROTC. Army ROTC Cadet Naomi Barr Whitlock is a 2022 graduate of Crestview H.S. and Army JROTC. She attends Army ROTC at Marion Military Institute, Ala. She is participating in the Army’s early commissioning program and will be commissioned a second lieutenant this summer prior to finishing her final two years of college to get her Bachelor’s degree.