Army Education News

A Commitment to Future Leaders: U.S. Army Awards Three DECA Students ROTC Scholarships

May 23, 2016

At the core of the U.S. Army’s partnership with DECA is a common goal to support talented students who display qualities of leadership and academic promise. So it was fitting that during DECA’s International Career Development Conference that took place April 23-26 in Nashville, Tennessee, the U.S. Army presented ROTC scholarships to three outstanding DECA students who embody the Army characteristics of leadership and determination to succeed. 

Jackson Denly, Jack Kello and Taryn Schoen will head off to college in the fall as Army ROTC Cadets who will receive financial support and unparalleled leadership training from the U.S. Army. The students were recognized for their achievements during the annual Leadership Luncheon by keynote speaker Brigadier General Sean Gainey, Deputy Commanding General for the United States Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky. 

Brigadier General Sean Gainey presents students Jack Kello (far left), Taryn Schoen (center) and Jackson Denly (far right) with Army ROTC scholarships.

For these scholarship recipients, DECA’s emphasis on leadership training played a key role in preparing them for college and the Army ROTC program. To qualify for an ROTC scholarship, students must exhibit good academic standing and be active members in their school community.

“DECA really prepared me for college and ROTC by providing the opportunity to work with different people from all over and learn about the fields of business I’ve been interested in,” said scholarship recipient Jack Kello, who will be attending Western Kentucky University in the fall, “I’ve definitely developed my public speaking and problem solving skills through the leadership opportunities and competitions.”

Taryn Schoen echoed Kello’s sentiments about DECA preparing her for Army ROTC, saying that, “DECA has definitely required me to think more on my feet and has helped me become more business minded.“ Taryn will attend Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the fall.

Both Schoen and Kello believe that participating in Army ROTC will greatly enhance their overall college experience.

Kello is interested in turning his Army ROTC experience into a long-term military career. Since a young age he had been interested in the military and was in contact with local Army ROTC Cadets in his hometown of Scottsville, Kentucky. Kello feels that being in Army ROTC will jumpstart his career goals and leadership skills with “practical experience [through] participating in labs and other activities.”

Schoen comes from an Army family background and is surrounded by a military lifestyle in her hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas. Both of her older sisters enrolled in Army ROTC in college and she decided to follow in their footsteps. She feels that Army ROTC will strengthen her leadership skills by providing her new and more challenging experiences as well as allow her to meet a diverse group of people in college.

“I have had numerous opportunities to be in a leadership position throughout high school but I think that ROTC will give me even more and greater chances to be a leader. It will be new and different for me and will probably be very challenging but I believe that it will only make me want to achieve more and lead more,” said Schoen.

In addition to giving these students valuable skills to succeed in the real world, the Army ROTC program is fully funding their education. Each of the students was awarded a four-year scholarship. 

“Army ROTC is funding all of my college education and then some, which I am extremely grateful for,” said Schoen.

Kello shares a similar sentiment, saying, “Army ROTC has provided a four year scholarship to Western Kentucky University. My books are being paid for and the university is paying for my room and board due to my status as a Cadet in the program.”

All three Army ROTC scholarship recipients are not shy of leadership roles. Collectively they boast being on student council, senior class cabinet, serving as regional DECA president and academic team captain, as well as taking on many other extracurricular activities.

Juggling between academic work, leadership roles and applying for college – what advice did these students give to those just starting the college process?

“I really urge them to stay active in their schools and communities, and most importantly enjoy every chance you can to spend time with friends and family. It’s really important that they find the best direction for their future and work towards it. They need to be aware of all they have done in their high school career, stay organized, and consider what options are most realistic for them,” advised Kello.

Schoen said, “Don’t stress out about it too much. It’s very easy to get lost in the process and get very stressed and anxious about it, but try not to.”

We wish these students a bright future and best of luck as Army ROTC Cadets!

Related Articles

Army Education News Archive