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    NNOA awards scholarships to Hampton Roads students

    NORFOLK, Va. - The National Naval Officers Association Tidewater Chapter awarded $25,500 in scholarships to seven graduating high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, May 5.

    Three students received the Vice Admiral Gravely Scholarship, named after the first black naval officer to rise to the rank of vice admiral. The NNOA also awarded scholarships to four students who plan to pursue undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

    "Tonight is about education and, throughout my life, I've always passionately believed education is the cornerstone to success," said keynote speaker Vice Adm. Carol M. Pottenger, deputy chief of staff for Capability Development NATO Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.

    The NNOA, which began in 1970, awarded its first Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship in 1980. Eventually, the scholarships were named in honor of Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr., and were also awarded to students outside of Navy ROTC. This year, the first STEM scholarships were awarded thanks to a grant by the Office of Naval Research.

    "I hope everyone of you decides to put on the uniform," said Pottenger. "But, no matter where you study, what you study, and no matter how you decide to use this education, you will be serving your country."

    The theme for this year's banquet was a quote from Nelson Mandela in which he said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

    Pottenger reiterated that sentiment by telling the scholarship recipients, "We expect you to give back."

    "It's a real prestigious honor," said Twymun K. Safford, recipient of the $10,000 STEM scholarship. "It's like I'm finally being rewarded for all the hard work I've done and it allows me continue on to the next level."

    Safford, a student at Denbigh High School, plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and major in aerospace engineering.

    Alston T. Cobb, a student at Western Branch High School, received a $5,000 STEM Scholarship. Blair E. Cutting, a student at First Colonial High School, and Derrian W. Flemings, a student at Bethel High School, both received $2,500 STEM Scholarships.

    Keaun Q. Barrett, a student at Churchland High School, received a $2,500 Vice Admiral Gravely Scholarship. Cameron K. Bell, a student at Woodside High School, and Jourdan K. Simpson, a student at Lakeland High School, both received $1,500 Vice Admiral Gravely Scholarships.

    Pottenger issued a challenge to the recipients by saying, "If you're not being challenged by the course your life is taking you, then change that course. You must give it your all."

    Gravely, who passed away in 2004, said, "Success in life is the result of several factors. My formula is simply education plus motivation plus perseverance. Education is paramount. Motivation: one must decide what he wants to do in life, how best to get there and to proceed relentlessly towards that goal. Perseverance: the ability to steadfastly proceed to your goal. It is the ability to overcome."

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    Date Taken: 05.05.2012
    Date Posted: 10.09.2012 00:25
    Story ID: 95867
    Location: NORFOLIK, VA, US

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