ROTC gives students helping hand with college

Both students will be required to serve in the military for a minimum of four years after they graduate.

Published May 27, 2005

INVERNESS - Two Citrus High School seniors will graduate with substantial scholarships for college through the Air Force ROTC.

Charles Osterhout will have tuition and books covered and receive living stipends for four years, and Thomas Holland will be covered for three years. Both students qualified for scholarships through the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program.

Charles and Thomas will be required to serve in the military for a minimum of four years after they graduate. They will enter the service as commissioned officers.

Charles, 18, plans to attend the University of Florida to major in mechanical engineering and possibly aerospace engineering, "if I can double major," he said, "which I think I can."

Whether Charles stays in the U.S. Air Force depends on his specialty. He hopes to work with defense contracting while he is serving. A career in the Air Force is a possibility.

To prepare for college, Charles has been studying drafting and "all the math I can get a hold of," he said. He has been in ROTC for three years, but said he managed to complete four years of classes "because I doubled up junior year."

Charles was a swimmer and ran track during high school. He is a Life Scout, but expects to become an Eagle Scout shortly. He was a Rotary Club Student of the Month and is in the Citrus High School Hall of Fame. He is a member of National Honor Society, and he attended the Air Force Honors Camp at Georgia Tech in the summer of 2004.

Charles, who has a 4.05 grade point average, is the son of Susan and Merrill Osterhout of Hernando. He has one sister, Aimee, 16, who is a Citrus High sophomore.

Thomas, 18, will benefit from a Veterans Association scholarship as well as his awards from ROTC and Bright Futures. He will attend the University of Florida to major in aerospace engineering.

Thomas was an Elks Student of the Month twice and the Rotary Student of the Month as a senior. He has kept busy all through high school working at restaurants.

He attended the Air Force Honors camp, and he is considering a career in the Air Force.

Thomas belonged to the National Honor Society and the BETA Club and was a member of the marching and concert bands for two years, playing the saxophone. Thomas has been in JROTC throughout high school.

Thomas, who has a 4.309 grade point average, is the son of Cindy Holland of Floral City and John Leacock of New York. He lives with his grandfather, Howard Holland of Floral City. He has one sister, Sabrina, who is 12 and in the sixth grade at Inverness Middle School.