Command Sergeant Major Kelsey Scott earned a $180,000 Army ROTC scholarship to Florida Southern College. This recognition is a tremendous achievement, and she has made Naples High proud.

The process to get the scholarship was lengthy and required her to go through multiple interviews and complete various essays and forms. Those materials then had to be submitted to a panel of people at Fort Knox, where they review the information and decide what scholarship should be received.

“It’s very relieving because I’ve been working on my application for the scholarship since last March,” Scott said. “So it’s been a lot of work getting all the papers that are needed in order and essays and interviews.”

Her tuition and housing at Florida Southern College will be covered by the scholarship. Through a very long and complicated process, Scott was able to secure the scholarship while balancing leadership roles, sports and a JROTC Program of Accreditation (JPA) inspection. 

“So basically, in the next two months, someone from the army will come down and we have to do a full presentation about everything our battalion has been working on for the past couple of years,” Scott said. “They do it every three years now, so it’s a big deal.”

Since her freshman year, Scott has balanced JROTC with various other extracurricular, band and sports activities. In her senior year, however, she had to drop band for her dedication to JROTC. Her well-roundedness helped her secure the scholarship.

“The main thing to get the scholarship is I was very well rounded in high school since I did soccer, softball, band and JROTC,” Scott said “[This] is something they look for, and I had leadership positions in all of those.”

JROTC has influenced Scott’s life and has taught her a lot of life lessons that she will use even after graduating from Naples High. The program has given her the foundation to become an officer in the military, assisting her in attaining a stable career.

“JROTC has really impacted my life, especially Colonel and Master Sergeant. They helped me a lot, especially my freshman and sophomore year,” Scott said. “The leadership I’ve learned has helped me in all aspects of school.”

JROTC participates in many activities throughout the year, each one helping students grow and improve their character. Students learn how to be leaders when needed, how to be members of a team and how to have fun. The class teaches countless skills that students have found beneficial over the years.

“They learn how to support the school, and we teach a lot of different things that help them out, like financial planning,” Colonel Paul Garrah said. “I think that helps some take skills that they can transfer to any other job and do well.”

After being here for four years, Scott has made some great friends during her time at NHS. One of her favorite memories from JROTC is having popsicle parties with her Raiders team. Even though she is the only senior on the team, the underclassmen still put in the effort in order to do well at the county this year. Scott will also be leaving behind her younger sister, Addison Scott. 

“It’s definitely going to be weird, especially since we’ve been so close since we were younger, and we are so very close in age,” Scott said. “We’ve always done everything, so it is going to be a change not to have her there. It’s going to be difficult.”

This scholarship is an excellent opportunity for Scott to become successful even after leaving NHS, and she’ll be able to use the skills she learned from JROTC throughout the rest of her life.

“I’m definitely going to miss the people,” Scott said. “You spent four years getting to know people and you know people here your entire life, just to leave when you graduate. That’s definitely something I’ll miss.”