Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) wasn’t even in Alexander Willertz’ plans when he applied to Scarlet Oaks Career Campus for the Engineering Technologies and Robotics program. A friend suggested that he give Navy JROTC a try; he did, and 18 months later Alexander is preparing for a career in aerospace engineering thanks to a $180,000 scholarship from the U. S. Navy.
Willertz, a student from Winton Woods, quickly stood out among his peers in JROTC. His uniform holds numerous medals and ribbons: The Theodore Roosevelt Youth Leadership Award, the Honor Cadet award for exemplary conduct, and gold and silver medals in orienteering, among others.
He’s also excelling in his classes. His GPA puts him at the top of his Scarlet Oaks class, he’s taking two College Credit Plus courses, and as a student in Engineering Technologies and Robotics, he participated in regional SkillsUSA competition in the Mechatronics event.
Willertz is also an Eagle Scout.
He began the ROTC scholarship application process months ago—writing essays, gathering letters of recommendation, and passing a physical test.
Willertz originally applied for the Navy ROTC Scholarship Program. His application, though, was among the 1% chosen for a more direct—but more difficult—scholarship review process, the Immediate Scholarship Reservation or ISR. As an ISR candidate, he had to pass an interview with Ohio’s Navy Recruiting Commanding Officer. “Alexander was required to have higher scores and a better resume than a regular applicant for an ISR interview,” said Scarlet Oaks Naval Science Instructor Senior Chief David McDermott, USN, (Ret).
“I still feel like I’m in shock,” Willertz said of learning about the scholarship. “My parents also support me and are happy that I have this opportunity.” And it’s a rare opportunity; he’s the first Scarlet Oaks Navy JROTC student to win the scholarship in the program’s 23-year history. “They only take the best of the best,” said McDermott.
Alexander is now waiting to learn if he’s been accepted in his top college choice, the Illinois Institute of Technology. In college, he’ll spend four years in the school’s Navy ROTC program and at graduation will be commissioned as a Naval Officer.
And he said that his Scarlet Oaks experience in the Engineering Technologies and Robotics program has been good. “In our career programs at Scarlet Oaks, we’re all surrounded for 2 ½ hours a day by people who have the same interests and goals in life. It gave me a foundation for my future studies and career.”