A marine with a dream

A marine with a dream

April Rios

During Senior Awards Night on May 17, Luis Cuellar received a 180,000 dollar scholarship from the NROTC, or Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, national scholarship. Cuellar was one of ten students from the Los Angeles area to receive the award, which allows students to attend college before entering the Marines.

Dinorah Acuña, Writer

This year’s Senior Awards Night, which took place at the Downey Civic Theater, on May 17, at 7:00 p.m., presented scholarships to 124 seniors. Among this group of scholarship recipients is Luis Cuellar who received the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Scholarship of $180,000 to attend the University of Arizona.

The NROTC Scholarship allows Cuellar to attend college first; then during the summer of his junior year in college he will go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) where he will receive training for his future position. After Cuellar graduates from U of A he will attend Military Occupation Specialty where he will then be able to serve in the Marines. With the unconditional support from his family and his complete certainty of enlisting in the Marines, Cuellar knew that he could not pass up this scholarship opportunity.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Marines because I liked it,” Luis Cuellar, 12, said. “I liked the lifestyle.”

Despite the support he received from his family members, his friends were not quite fond of the idea of Cuellar going off to the Marines.

“I wanted to do it and I felt like it was the right thing for me to do,” Cuellar said, “so I was going to do it no matter what.”

The aspiring Marine had already enlisted last June before he came across the NROTC Scholarship opportunity.  He knew he could not let the opportunity go because of his financial need in order to pay for college. The NROTC Scholarship required the usual transcripts, resume and letters of recommendation, but it also asked the scholarship hopefuls to go through a series of physical trainings and tests in order to be considered.

Even though Cuellar was reserved about informing his teachers and counselor about the scholarship, they are very proud and honored that he will continue his education while also serving his country.

“I actually didn’t know anything about the scholarship until he received it,” Career Technician, Ms. Campos said. “I’m very proud of his decision, especially since he comes from a family that has served this country. It’s exciting that he will be able to go to college and serve his nation.”

Luis Cuellar was chosen among thousands of applicants across the country, and was also one of ten chosen in the entire Los Angeles area. Because of the scholarship, his enlistment to the Marines was taken away in order for him to attend college first. Once Cuellar is a college graduate, he will start in the Marines in a higher position as second lieutenant, than he would have if he were to go to the Marines straight out of high school.

Through all of his hard work and motivation, Luis Cuellar achieved the opportunity to both further his education and serve his nation.