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Three students win scholarships from Air Force

One Citrus High student will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. Two others will receive ROTC scholarships.

By TREVOR JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2001


INVERNESS -- Three Citrus High School graduates will glide into college on the wings of the U.S. Air Force. Samuel McLain will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., on an academic scholarship. Douglas James Michel and Joseph Charles Hochadel will receive ROTC scholarships.

McLain, 18, will receive a scholarship worth $62,500 a year over four years. He said he plans to major in engineering but isn't certain about a career in engineering or the military. He said he has up to two years to decide whether he will continue at the academy for a military career.

He has visited the school and said the campus is beautiful, on the side of a mountain. "I loved it," he said.

He went in January, so it was cold, but what surprised him was how easily he lost his breath in the high altitude. "I'll get used to that," he said.

He is looking at the change as a great opportunity. "I'm not all that worried about leaving here because I'm going to one of the best schools in the nation," he said.

McLain was recruited by the school for football and plans to play football and baseball -- "two things I love to do."

McLain has a 4.27 weighted grade point average and is the son of Randy and Vickey McLain.

Michel, 18, will be attending the University of Central Florida on an Air Force ROTC scholarship of $15,000 per year. He plans to major in criminal justice.

"I felt relieved when I finally received the letter," he said about his notification of his award. "My most difficult challenge this year has been financing my college education."

Michel has a 3.9 grade point average and is the son of Brenda Michel.

Hochadel, 18, plans to attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg with his Air Force ROTC scholarship of $17,500 a year for three years.

He plans to major in computer science and minor in marine biology. Hochadel said that after college, he plans to be a pilot in the Air Force or a marine biologist.

"I feel like it will be a good learning experience to go to new places, meet new people and encounter new experiences," he said.

Hochadel has a 2.9 grade point average and is the son of Kathy Beville and Jack Hochadel.

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