He was enlisted, had his bags packed for boot camp, and was ready to serve his country in the United States Marine Corp. when he heard the news.
Claremore senior Grant McCollough thought he would be beginning basic training this summer, but news that he had been awarded a $180,000 NROTC scholarship prompted him to change course.
"Last year I applied for the Naval ROTC scholarship," McCollough said, adding that he recently received word that he'd been chosen as a recipient.
"I was really, really surprised. I was enlisted and ready to go. I wasn't expecting to get it. Before I got the scholarship I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. and my plans were to go to boot camp this summer, but if I got the scholarship I'd be going to college."
McCollough added, "With the scholarship money my plans are to go to the University of Oklahoma, and after I get a degree I plan to go to Marine Officer Candidate School."
He said the scholarship was based on grade point average, community involvement, and individual character.
"I think I was chosen because of how committed I was to going the military, I was already enlisted and ready to go. I would have spent several years in the military then transitioned to be an officer," he said. "Only two per state are awarded this scholarship, and this is only the second time someone from Claremore has been given this scholarship."
When he first decided he wanted to join the military he sought out guidance from the Marine recruitment office in Claremore.
He said he got involved in ROTC one year ago this month.
When asked why he chose to pursue a military career, McCollough said, "I started pondering what I wanted to be remembered for after high school. I considered a few career options and found out none of them were really for me. I really wanted to serve my country."
He said his parents, Mark and Kathy McCollough, are extremely proud.
"They've stood behind me since the beginning," he said.