Aryanna Romero and Brendan Buckles received $180,000 Naval ROTC scholarships.
Flagler Palm Coast seniors Aryanna Romero and Brendan Buckles received a couple of oversized checks May 11 at a program honoring the school's students who will soon be entering military service.
Romero and Buckles, who plan to be future Marine officers, each received a four-year $180,000 Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship.
Only seven of the scholarships were awarded in a region stretching from Valdosta, Georgia, to Altamonte Springs, Marine Staff Sgt. Jerad Lucero said.
"It's very rare to see two scholarship winners from the same high school," Lucero said. "Their mental aptitude, physical fitness test and officer interviews were all above average."
Recruiters from the Army, Navy and Marines presented stoles and certificates to 21 FPC seniors who will be entering the military at a ceremony at the school's Bistro.
"Recognizing these students in this way was awesome and overdue," said FPC Air Force Junior ROTC senior instructor Lt. Col. Melvin Baskerville. "We do these types of commitment ceremonies for scholar athletes, which is well-earned, but to do this for young men and women who elect to serve their country is also very meaningful.
"There are multiple ways to succeed in life. Military service is one of those options," he said.
Buckles has been accepted to the University of Florida's NROTC program. Romero will participate in the NROTC program at Jacksonville University, where she has received a second scholarship worth $108,000.
"We do these types of commitment ceremonies for scholar athletes, which is also well-earned, but to do this for young men and women who elect to serve their country is also very meaningful."
MELVIN BASKERVILLE, AFJROTC senior instructor
Romero and Buckles are both cadets in the school's AFJROTC program. Romero is the cadet lieutenant colonel director of staff. Buckles is the cadet second lieutenant athletics officer.
"It's deeply gratifying to see two of my cadets, Aryanna Romero and Brendan Buckles, receive $180,000 scholarships to further their education, and one day become an officer in the United States Marine Corps," Baskerville said. "This is a very proud moment for our program."
The ceremony was spearheaded by school counselor Sue Howell. Flagler County Veteran Services Officer David Lydon, FPC principal Greg Schwartz and Baskerville were among the speakers. Of the 21 recruits, nine will be entering the Marines, three will be entering the Navy, seven will be entering the Army and two will be entering the Air Force.