DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A Danville teenager was chosen for a prestigious full-ride college scholarship.
Thomas Hantz is one of a select few students to be given $180,000 by the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.
He was in a pool of more than 200 applicants. Danville’s recruiting office falls under Indiana’s jurisdiction. The two other students chosen are from Lafayette.
Hantz meets a long list of requirements for the scholarship. He’s about to graduate as the valedictorian of Danville High School with a 4.0 grade point average. But above that, he was selected because of his good character.
The top applicants have to be mentally, physically, and morally above their piers. The NROTC is looking for a strong leader. Recruiters will interview their teachers, family and friends and pick who stands out the most.
Hantz says, “It’s telling me that I’m doing something right and that I can do something pretty special with my life. I’m really excited for that. To work so hard to get that, it’s an unreal amount of money. It’s just really exciting for me.”
Werner Miller was his Marine Corps Recruiter. He says, “He’s extremely humble, he’s very intelligent just by speaking with him, and he stands out physically. He’s a leader. Kids have told me they want to be like him. Teachers and staff tell me they want to be like him and act like him.”
This scholarship is different from the GI Bill that gives scholarship money after people enlist and serve. NROTC scholarship recipients get money before their service.
When Hantz graduates college and finishes training, he will be commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer and hopes to one day become a pilot.
Hantz has chosen to go to Auburn University in the fall. He’ll major in aerospace engineering and minor in military science.