Following in his father’s footsteps, Mineola High School senior Nicolas
Tavares had enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 2018, one
year in advance of his graduation date. After scoring in the 90th
percentile on his entrance exam, Nicolas’ recruiter urged him to apply
for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship, which would
provide him with all of the Marine Corps training, in addition to the
opportunity to earn both his bachelor’s degree and an officer ranking
while having his full tuition paid for through the scholarship. Nicolas
was notified in March that he is one of five in the Nassau/Suffolk/New
York City region who have qualified for the national scholarship.
Nicolas, whose father was a Marine in the ’80s after moving to the
United States from Portugal, had been raised patriotic and always wanted
to do more for his country. He has wanted to be a Marine since the
fourth grade and has been preparing himself physically for the
requirements by participating on the school’s track team.
“I feel lucky that I got this amazing opportunity,” Nicolas said. “My
goal was always to be a Marine, regardless of whether I got to go to
college first. I feel a lot more secure that I get to do both things
that I want to do at the same time.”
Nicolas is also a lieutenant and captain of the Mineola Junior Fire
Department, holds a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and serves as a
lector at his church. He goes once a month to his recruitment office to
work out and meet with other enlisted ROTC.
As part of the scholarship, Nicolas will receive full tuition, a book
stipend, educational fees and other financial benefits at his choice of
the country’s leading colleges and universities. Under the scholarship,
he will spend four weeks each summer participating in the ROTC Summer
Academy, as well as fulfill a commitment to the Marines after graduating
from college. Nicolas intends to major in political science and has not
yet finalized which college he will be attending.