Live Oaks/Milford JROTC students earn scholarships

From left: Ashley Jeffers, Keri Eberly, Amanda Reinhart, Craig Belcher, Miranda Sears.

More than one million dollars.

That’s what five Live Oaks and Milford students received in scholarships this week.

Ashley Jeffers of the Live Oaks Veterinary Assisting program and Clermont Northeastern and Craig Belcher, Keri Eberly, Amanda Reinhart, and Miranda Sears of Milford High School earned full scholarships and were presented with their checks during the JROTC annual awards ceremony.

The students are cadets in the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program held at Live Oaks Career Campus and Milford High School. The Live Oaks/Milford program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Ashley Jeffers, a two-year JROTC cadet, will study biology at Xavier University.

“I’ve always had an interest in science,” she said of her decision to attend Live Oaks to study Veterinary Assisting. “I never considered JROTC until I saw a presentation about it as a junior and saw the activities they do.”

Specifically, she became interested in the Raider competition, a series of physical and mental challenges designed to build determination and self-confidence. Jeffers said that joining JROTC was life-changing. “I was shy and quiet all my life, but within a couple of months I had been named a squad leader.”

Now, as a top student, she receives a full four-year scholarship from Xavier University and the U.S. Army, and is planning a career in the military.

Craig Belcher will also attend Xavier and will study nursing. He currently works as an EMT for the Milford Fire Department, and was a delegate to Buckeye Boys’ State.

As a JROTC cadet, he did Raider competitions for three years and drill team competition for a year.

Keri Eberly earned a four-year scholarship to Purdue University, where she’ll study chemical engineering. “My plan is to specialize in renewable energy,” she said. After completing college, she’ll have an eight-year commitment in the Army Reserve. Eberly is 8th in her class academically at Milford High School.

Amanda Reinhart has planned to attend the Air Force Academy since her sophomore year in high school, and saw the JROTC program as a way to prepare. Her decision paid off, as she was chosen as an Academy cadet. “I had an awesome childhood, and wanted to give back to my community,” she said. Reinhardt plans to be a pilot or experimental engineer. She’s currently tied for second place academically in her Milford graduating class.

Miranda Sears said she joined JROTC “because my brother told me not to.” Now, because of that decision, she has a four-year scholarship to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She will study trauma nursing and then go into active duty in the military.

Eventually, Sears hopes to become an educator, training ER nurses.

A total of ten graduates of the Live Oaks/Milford JROTC program are currently attending college on full scholarships.