, Muskogee, OK

June 29, 2013

Okay grad gets NROTC education

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Extra effort helped Okay High School graduate Riley Sanders earn a scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Sanders plans to major in engineering at the University of Oklahoma and join the U.S. Marine Corps.

Capt. Keith Yorman, executive officer at the U.S. Marines recruiting station in Oklahoma City said the scholarship pays for four years of college tuition and fees, plus a monthly stipend.  Upon graduation, recipients serve four years in the Marines, Yorman said.

 “I’ve always been wanting to join the Marines, and I was always interested in going to college after high school,” said Sanders, 17. “The scholarship application was very lengthy. I started in my summer between my junior and senior year.”

The application included submitting his ACT test results, high school transcript and letters of recommendation from three teachers. Sanders said he also got a letter of recommendation from State Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay.

Sanders said he also had to pass a physical fitness test and received 291 out of a maximum 300 points.

In addition to filling out his application, Sanders joined the U.S. Marines Delayed Entry Program. He said the program was a worst case scenario in case he did not get the scholarship.

“Joining the delayed entry program showed I was interested in being a Marine first,” he said.

Sanders said he leaves June 29 for a four-week summer program through OU’s math, science and engineering department. He reports Aug. 12 for orientation for his NROTC class.

His parents credit Sanders with following through on plans he made at an early age.

“He set goals for himself several years ago and maintained a high grade point average,” said his father, Randy Sanders.

Riley’s mother, Charolette Sanders, said her son spent his entire education at Okay schools, beginning in pre-kindergarten.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or