WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO | Find out what it took for this David Douglas High School student, a longtime East Portland resident, to receive a grant from the Navy ROTC Scholarship Program…
In the south parking lot of David Douglas High School, near Palmermini Stadium, members of the US Marine Corps and the fellow’s friends and family wait to make their surprise entrance.
History and photos of David F. Ashton
Even though Christmas was not yet close, last month, on December 9, a senior at David Douglas High School (DDHS), Sophia Day, received a big surprise gift during his extracurricular lesson at the athletics club.
To keep things a surprise, officers from the Portland US Marine Corps Recruiting Office quietly gathered with the winner’s family and friends in the parking lot near Palmermini Stadium that afternoon.
Before entering to make the presentation, the group of revelers and presenters pose for a group photo.
“You could say we’re doing ‘field maneuvers’ here in the parking lot, while we wait for our honoree to walk into the gym,” smiled U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. ) Sauls – speaking in a low voice, but with a twinkle in his eye.
“We are here today to honor a phenomenal young woman by the name of Sophia Day,” said GySgt Sauls. East Portland News. “Of over 200 applications received from across the West Coast, she was one of only four from Oregon State to qualify for the NROTC Scholarship!”
Watch the excitement build as this surprise scholarship presentation takes place here in our exclusive video:
About the NROTC Program
Candidates selected for the Navy ROTC Scholarship Program – which includes the US Marine Corps – receive scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process. Winners receive full tuition, a book allowance, tuition, and other financial benefits, at many top colleges and universities nationwide.
Qualifications include at least a cumulative score of 3.2 SAT in academic subjects. Another requirement is at least 100 hours of documented community service, outside of school, on personal time.
“And physical fitness is also required: the physical standard is to complete a three-mile run in 22 minutes; be able to do 100 ‘crutches’; and then do five Marine Corps pull-ups,” Sauls explained.
“The scholarship is worth up to $180,000 and can be used at over 100 universities across the country. Ms. Day will go to Stanford University next year and represent the Marine Corps to the highest standards,” said GySgt Sauls. East Portland News.
“When she graduates from college and graduates four years, having maintained her grades, she will receive a guaranteed commission in the United States Marine Corps,” GySgt said. said Sauls.
Checking if it’s time to come in and make the surprise presentation, here’s Sophia’s mom, Lisa Ortquist.
Proud mom served in the Marine Reserves
“We are really proud of Sophia, my daughter,” said her mother, Lisa Ortquist. “Especially having been in the Marine Reserves for 11 years – I’m really excited for her. She’s a very determined young woman and it’s impressive to see her achieve her goals.
From her mother we learned that Sophia lives in the Hazelwood district; and was educated entirely in the David Douglas School District – having attended Ventura Park Elementary School, then Floyd Light Middle School, before entering DDHS.
As surprise unfolds, Sophia Day receives his ‘big check’ from United States Marine Corps officers Gunnery Sergeant Sauls, Sergeant Patrick Hinjosa and Major Matthew Krempel.
When the “coast was clear”, the group went to a gym in the basement where the students were exercising.
The distinctive, pointed attire of the United States Marine Corps officers walking around immediately made Sophia aware of the nature of the visit.
Flanked by her brother, Shad Day — and her mother, Lisa Ortquist — U.S. Marine Corps Specialist Sophia Day poses for a celebratory photo.
After speaking to students and staff at the scholarship program, GySgt Sauls proclaimed, “Sophia, people here, stand up before you in your class, and those standing here beside you and behind you – we are all stand with you, as you progress in your studies and career.
After photos were taken and the cheers subsided, Sophia said East Portland News, “I’m really excited and nervous. I worked really hard for this and I’m really happy.
Congratulations to Sophia Day! (And, Go Scots!)
© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™