HOUSTON – Oct. 18, 2019 – Almost 100 area JROTC students gathered at Spring High School last week for a briefing from Regent University. Hailing from Spring ISD and a dozen other area districts, the students – all of whom hold roles in their campus-based Army JROTC and Navy JROTC programs – learned about scholarships at Regent University and about college and career opportunities in both the military and the civilian workforce.
“These students are in leadership positions, and they’ve already proven themselves,” said retired U.S. Navy Capt. James Boyer, lead instructor of Spring High School’s Navy JROTC program. “So it’s a chance for them to be exposed to these opportunities.”
Following the briefing, JROTC instructors each awarded one scholarship offer – a 25 percent tuition reduction at Regent University – to a student from their campus. The scholarships to the private, Christian liberal arts university, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, are worth up to approximately $4,300 annually for four years (for full-time on-campus study), with additional tuition reductions available if students decide to join the school’s ROTC program. Three scholarships were awarded to Spring ISD seniors: Dekaney High School’s Donovan Rodriguez, Westfield High School’s Vivian Garcia, and Spring High School’s Nasir Prout.
According to Regent University representative Brian Meisner, who retired from the military after 27 years in active duty, the goal of the briefing was to let students know about the opportunities and choices available after graduation, as well as to encourage them to work hard during high school in order to ensure options for the future.
“Do we want them to go to Regent University? Of course,” Meisner said after the briefing. “But my main goal is to help them get information about ROTC programs, the university, and some of the scholarship programs that are available to them. Because we want all of them to go to college.”
Three recent Spring ISD graduates now attending Regent as part of the school’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Preparatory Program sent a special video message for the current JROTC students. Alumni Emily Brower, Julia Brower and Solomon Foster-Smith all held leadership roles within Spring High School’s Navy JROTC program, and all three were selected to help launch the NROTC Preparatory Program at Regent this year.
“What I like about the program here at Regent is that we’re all a family, so we work together,” said Julia Brower, who said the program was already helping her sharpen her skills and grow as a student.
The Browers, who are sisters, and Foster-Smith each received full scholarships covering their first year at Regent. After successful completion of the one-year preparatory program – overseen by the U.S. Navy – each will become eligible for funding for up to four additional years of coursework. All three plan to enter the military as commissioned officers after graduation.
“If it weren’t for the scholarship,” Emily Brower said, “then I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend college.”
Boyer said he hopes to continue the partnership with Regent University, so that Houston students will continue to pursue similar scholarships.
“Before, they wouldn’t even consider it or look at it,” Boyer said. “But now, because we have folks that are there and they’re being successful, now they see it as a possibility.”