South Carolina AFJROTC unit receives record number of AFROTC scholarships

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Air Force ROTC recently awarded scholarships to seven Air Force JROTC cadets at Clover High School, South Carolina, a new record for the school.

“That’s nearly one-third of my senior class,” said retired Maj. Brian Batson during a recent interview with the local newspaper The Herald. “You could tell this class was special when they started with us four years ago. They were outstanding students from the very beginning.”

Batson is the senior aerospace science instructor at the unit, AFJROTC SC-951.

The cadets receiving the scholarships are Ray Beebe, John Dickey, Sam Gordon, Sahara Ivey, Ariel Lopez, Kristen Morrison and Emily Stefurak. The estimated amount of the scholarships is $1.1 million.

Although AFJROTC is a citizenship program by Title 10 charter, it also helps the Air Force get quality enlistees and cadets for the Air Force Academy and AFROTC.

“The depth of talent in this class is extremely special,” said retired Senior Master Sgt. Clarence Woodham, the unit’s assistant aerospace science instructor during an interview with The Herald. “In my 10 years of teaching JROTC, I’ve never encountered anything like it.”

The AFJROTC program is a “low-cost, high-impact” program that not only creates “good will” toward the Air Force in nearly 900 communities worldwide through an average of 1.6 million community service hours annually, but also gives the Air Force a persistent presence in places that are not near military bases, said the director of Headquarters AFJROTC, Col. Bobby Woods.

“We are incredibly proud of these seven cadets on receiving AFROTC scholarships and their desire to serve their nation,” said Woods. “We are confident they will make positive impacts in the future. They represent many more in JROTC who are inspired to aviation, the Air Force and service to our nation in a wide array of careers through this incredible program.”

AFJROTC is a citizen development program with a 58 percent minority and 38 percent female enrollment. With close to 121,000 cadets (greater than one-third the size of the Air Force), the program is a “fertile field that provides huge benefits” for not only cadets, schools and communities around the world, but also directly benefits the Air Force in many ways, he said.