Local student wins national award

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Senior Meredith Fry celebrates her achievements with her track team after receiving an NROTC scholarship.

Davis Corman, Political News Editor

After months of hard work and dedication, a local Bellefonte High student has received a life-changing award.

On April 13, as students and teachers on the Bellefonte track team gathered at Bellefonte’s football stadium, senior Meredith Fry was surprised by her local Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) leaders. At this moment, Meredith learned that she had won the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Marine Options Scholarship. In total, she would receive $185,000 for her college tuition.

“I was completely shocked when I found out and didn’t know how to react. When reality set in, I was so excited and thrilled that all of my hard work paid off and that my dreams were coming true,” Meredith said.

This award is given out every year to some of the top candidates in the nation. To be eligible for the scholarship, one has to meet a variety of requirements. These included high scores on the SAT or ACT, passing a physical test, taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and scoring high enough, as well as demonstrating leadership throughout the school and within one’s community. In winning the scholarship, Meredith had not only achieved these requirements, but surpassed them.

In receiving the $185,000 scholarship, there are also a lot of requirements and expectations one needs to meet once granted the scholarship. Over the next few years, Meredith will be required to meet a list of duties to keep the award. One of the beauties of the scholarship is that Meredith will be able to choose any NROTC program of her desire, along with receiving a monthly stipend that she can use for anything of her choosing.

“When I graduate college I won’t have any debt,” Meredith said.

With the financial relief that comes with the scholarship, Meredith will also have to meet the numerous requirements of the award. Some of these include attending an NROTC workout three times a week, taking a Naval science course every semester, shadowing an officer for eight weeks every summer, and upon the summer of her senior year in college, she will have to go to Officer Commissioning School. At the end of it all, what all of these duties are preparing her for, she will then, after her senior year of college, commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, serving a minimum of four years in active duty.

“I’m beyond excited to serve four years. It’s always been a dream of mine to serve and I will probably do more than the required four years,” Meredith said.

This achievement is a historic one for the local NROTC chapter, with Meredith being the first-ever individual from Bellefonte High School to receive such an award. Now, as she embarks on a new journey of her life, not only does she have the scholarship to help her along the way, but through JROTC, she has built a community of relationships that will be with her throughout the rest of her life.