GROVE - One Grove High School senior is preparing to make a 15 year-old dream come true.
Anthony Lucky, a three-sport athlete at GHS was awarded the NROTC Scholarship on Tuesday, May 12. The scholarship will cover tuition, fees, books and allow for a $250-$400 monthly stipend for four years while Lucky earns his degree at the University of Oklahoma.
"I want to go to college and then to the corps. And then [Sgt. Hernandez] just kind of threw that scholarship out there and so I decided to start looking into it a little bit more," said Lucky.
Sgt. Hernandez then had Lucky take a practice Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAD) test, on which Lucky score on the higher end. This prompted Sgt. Hernandez to contact Captain Bell in Claremore, who then guided Lucky through the application process.
The application process included four or five pages of personal information, school involvement and three essays, according to Lucky.
"I had to write three different essays about my goals once I get into the Marine Corps and about how I would benefit from using this scholarship," said Lucky. "In total it took me about a week to actually fill out the whole application."
Lucky has high aspirations when it comes to his goals for the corps.
"I'd like to fly jets or helicopters, that would be ideal for me," said Lucky.
To keep his scholarship, Lucky must earn a GPA above 2.5 and participate in the ROTC program at OU, which will teach him about pt, drill and ranks. Lucky says that one bonus is that OU's ROTC program works the home football games.
The Few, The Proud, The Marines
Lucky said that he has known he wanted to be a Marine since the young age of 3 or 4. As he child of a former Marine and a former Navy servicewoman, Lucky knows what is required of the career path he has chosen.
"It seemed really cool and as I got older, I knew that was what I was supposed to do," said Lucky.
Lucky has opted to get his education first, then go into the service.
"I was initially going to major in aviation, but then I found out that the Marine Corps doesn't require that extra knowledge to get into their aviation program. So I figured I would major in business or business finance. Once I get into the Marine Corps I would be able to take a test and if I score high enough on their test, they will send me to their flight schools," said Lucky. "One day, if I end up coming out of the Marine Corps, I'll be able to have a degree to fall back on."
Lucky says that his selection of OU wasn't much of a choice.
"That was the only school in Oklahoma that accepted the scholarship," said Lucky.
While he has extended family in Texas, he opted to become a Sooner to be closer to his immediate family.
"I didn't want to be eight hours from home, I figured three hours was more manageable," said Lucky.
During his senior year, Lucky has worked at Harp's Grocery Store, while being involved in Student Council, Character Counts and three sports.
On the same day as he was awarded his scholarship, Lucky was also named Male Athlete of the Year for Grove High School because of his contributions on the football field, the wrestling mat and in the pole vault pit.
"I'm really honored. Cause I think that there were a few other people who had a better chance of getting it over me. But I am very honored that they decided to pick me. It's a good feeling knowing that my effort was recognized," said Lucky.
Lucky played linebacker for the Ridgerunners and accrued a total of 112 tackles, 70 of which were solo, during the 2019 football season.
"Football has always been my favorite sport. I didn't actually start playing until seventh grade," said Lucky.
Defensive Coach Matt Barnhart said in a Facebook post that one thing that stuck out to him was how his team needed a lineman and Lucky stepped up saying that even though he didn't know how to play, he was willing to learn.
"The reason for all of his success is his raising and his selfless attitude. I have never in my life had a student athlete ask me if they could play the line or volunteer to do so for the team," said Barnhart.
To which Lucky replied, "I just wanted to play."
Five years later, Lucky said that the senior players decided that their goal for the season was to get Grove back into the playoffs.
"We didn't care how we were going to get there, but we just knew that we had to work together, and to bring the team together, to work towards that one goal. Me and Kai Sarwinski knew that we were going to have to lead our defense, to stay strong and it was a good year to go out on," said Lucky. "I felt really accomplished."
Lucky's favorite memory of his senior year is tied to that goal and the turf.
"The Oologah game. Knowing that we were underdogs and seeing the light drain from their eyes, seeing that we were going to win, going to pull off the upset, knowing that we were going to bring Grove back to the playoffs. Just knowing that we accomplished our goal," said Lucky.
After taking a year off from wrestling during his junior year, Lucky returned to the mat his senior year and won 13 matches.
"I wouldn't say that I am a dominate wrestler, but I would say that I've average at best. I enjoyed wrestling this season," said Lucky. "I'm glad that I did wrestle because I got to compete in one more sport for my senior year.
Lucky said that the camaraderie and the competition with the wrestling team was an amazing thing to be a part of.
"It was just a fun sport to be disciplined in," said Lucky. "The effort that we have to put in is just really rewarding."
Lucky was ranked in the top three pole vaulters in 4A for the 2020 season, after ending the 2019 season at the State Meet.
"I was very disappointed [about track season ending early]," said Lucky.
Lucky had placed third at State his sophomore year and had tied for fourth his junior year after clearing a height of 12-06.
"I was looking to place again. It's a little disappointing. I think I am most disappointed in the fact that I didn't go to the first meet of the year," said Lucky.
Lucky did not attend the lone meet of Grove's track season because he didn't feel ready or prepared for competition.
"Looking back on it, I should have gone even if I thought I would have performed poorly," said Lucky.
Words of Wisdom
Lucky knows the path of a Marine isn't easy.
"Anytime someone asks me what I'm doing after college and I say 'Marine Corps', they always say 'that's the worst branch to go into as an officer' and 'it's a hard life'. You can't be lazy, it's a hard life. If you do it, do it all the way, it's a special group of people. But if you are serious about it, go all in and it'll be the best decision of your life," said Lucky.