Life’s dream becoming reality thru J-100 AFJROTC Character-in-Leadership Scholarship

  • Published
  • By Christian P. Hodge, Headquarters Air Force Junior ROTC Public Affairs

An Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) cadet has a bright future and her post-college career path chosen after being selected as a recipient of the 2023 AFJROTC J-100 Character-in-Leadership Scholarship in Columbia, SC.

Cadet Sarah Hedley, a senior at Spring Valley High School, was nominated by her Aerospace Science Instructors and competed through several phases of this unique high school scholarship. Hedley made it through a records-review elimination round then moved on to the interview round along with the top 200 eligible cadets from across the country. These exceptional cadets met a virtual panel of officers, senior non-commissioned officers and Headquarters AFJROTC civilians at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.

“I am beyond honored to have been selected for the J-100 Scholarship. Through AFJROTC I have met many amazing cadets, and knowing that the Air Force has confidence in me as a leader and future service member shows me I am on the right path,” said Hedley. “My whole life I have had a dream to join the Air Force and becoming a pilot and being selected for the J-100 Scholarship was a concrete step in that direction.”

Now in its third year, and in conjunction with Headquarters Air Force ROTC, the J-100 Character-in-Leadership Scholarship recognizes the character and leadership developed in Air Force and Space Force Junior ROTC. The J-100 provides at least 100 eligible high school seniors with a minimum of two years JROTC experience the opportunity to pursue a commission in the U.S. Air or Space Forces while earning their college degree. This four-year scholarship, which includes a $10,000 per year housing allowance, can be used at any university with an Air Force ROTC detachment.

"Many of our J-100 scholarship recipients maintain a rigorous academic schedule, they participate in multiple extracurricular activities, they hold top leadership positions for their respective JROTC units, and they still manage to work part-time. I am so proud of these young men and women,” said Esteban Martinez, J-100 Scholarship Program Manager. “The J-100 is the highest paying scholarship offered through Air Force ROTC and it is only available to Air Force/Space Force JROTC cadets. It is exciting to engage with these cadets and follow their progress as they develop into the next generation of leaders for the Department of the Air Force."

Hedley knows college can be demanding, especially with the added stress of loans and other expenses. However, now she can fixate on being a successful college student and ROTC cadet.       

“College for anyone is a stressful experience with coursework, extra curriculars, being away from home and student loans,” she said. “As a college student who is also doing ROTC, I know college will not be easy and will require all the focus I have. Having the honor and privilege of being selected for this scholarship means I can focus on striving in college.”

She is looking at select schools in the Northeastern United States. No matter where she ends up her plan is to study aerospace engineering to prepare for her dream career of being a fighter pilot. Until then she is still in high school but is very happy she chose to join her unit – SC-064.

“Air Force JROTC has easily been my favorite part of high school. When I first started, I had no idea what to expect or how it would impact me. Through AFJROTC, I have learned what it means to be a leader and to be a part of a community. It makes me strive to be the best version of myself. The J-100 Scholarship was an extension of my AFJROTC life and has provided me with opportunities to meet amazing people I otherwise never would have met,” she said.

For more information on the J-100 AFJROTC Character-in-Leadership Scholarship go to the J-100 page on the AFJROTC website.