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Elizabeth Barker was presented a $200,000 nursing scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NRTOC) at CCHS

LON AUSTIN - From left to right: Jenny Barker, Daniel Barker, CDR Curtis Brown, Senior Chief Daniel Brandau, Liz Barker, and her sister, Abby Barker.

On Wednesday, May 12, a Crook County High School senior was presented a prestigious Naval Nursing scholarship for $200,000.

Elizabeth Barker is one of only 12 students in the nation to be awarded a nursing scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NRTOC) in the amount of $200,000. The Navy partners with more than 150 colleges and universities throughout the nation where this scholarship can be applied. Barker has chosen to sign with Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Crook County School District, Crook County High School, and members of the Navy Office officially presented the $200,000 scholarship check to Barker and her family Wednesday in the CCHS main gym.

Barker exclaimed about her scholarship, "Literally every time I look at it, I am just like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so much!' It is so crazy. I am just so excited."'

She added that her family is happy for her and overjoyed that she gets to do what she wants to do. Barker aspired to join the Navy to become a medic earlier in her high school career and her counselor, Ann Kasberger, suggested that she join ROTC her junior year. She did not know much about ROTC at the time and has since become impressed with the program.

"Now that I am into it, I love it so much," she emphasized. "The people are great, and they know what they are talking about, and it's amazing to just experience it."

She expressed that she was not expecting the uniform, but when she received her uniform and she put it on, she loved it. She also loves learning more about the Navy and getting more information to gain knowledge.

"The people are amazing, and they know their stuff and they know everything about Navy—it's really nice."

She added that she originally was pulled toward Army and Navy, because she wanted to be a trauma surgeon on the ground. When she joined the Crook County High School ROTC, she felt drawn toward the Navy and decided that is what she wanted to do.

"Honestly, it will be what the Navy needs for me," she explained of her future career. "In the beginning, I will be a nurse for the Navy. If they need me to go back to school and become a doctor or more of a medic, I will go back to school and I will get the education and come back to the Navy and work for them and do whatever they need."

Barker is involved in several extracurricular activities, including varsity basketball, varsity volleyball, varsity softball, Science Club, Honor Society, Leadership, Link Crew, Homecoming planning, and Student Council. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, and time with friends and family. She has achieved several Honors courses, including English, biology, geography and chemistry. She has completed advanced placement classes in calculus, chemistry and government.

Barker serves in community service at Kids Club, blood drives, Santa's Workshop, and veteran's events--including a POW/MIA recognition and veteran's dinner. She received awards in her sports career in volleyball, basketball and softball. She has honors in NJROTC Honor Roll, United States Army National Scholar Athlete, Daedalians JROTC Achievement Award and MOAA JROTC Medal.

Commander Scott Svoboda is Barker's NJROTC instructor for the high school NJROTC program. He has been impressed with Barker's leadership, involvement in his program and her dedication she has shown to joining the Navy.

"When students are interested in going down that path that includes college with a commission with the service, it's something that comes with a lot of weight from my standpoint," emphasized Svoboda.

He went on to say, "Because a person going into the service—in the same way that I came into the service—you think, would I want to serve with that person? Would I want that person to be alongside me, and to have my back as much as I have his/her back? For her, yes, absolutely."

Svoboda added that his involvement in the scholarship included a written recommendation, and she had to obtain recommendations from other teachers. Svoboda is always quick to emphasize that academic achievement is a culmination of the efforts of his peers at the high school who demonstrate exceptional teaching and partnership skills.

Svoboda also conducted the physical fitness portion of the application. The other qualifications include grades, SAT and ACT scores, and leadership and involvement in school and community. Barker was selected from a group of 13 applicants who qualified for the scholarship nationwide.

"She actually committed to the Navy before entering her senior year, raising her hand," Svoboda said of her commitment to the Navy.

Her added that the college choice for applicants who receive this scholarship must choose a school that has a Navy ROTC program affiliated with it. Oregon State University is the only college in Oregon that has a Navy ROTC program, although Barker chose Rutgers University, which is known for its medical program.

Barker also had applied for the Naval Academy, and she found out after she made her decision for Rutgers University that she had been selected for a Naval appointment, and will leave the end of August, with school beginning Sep. 1.

"The fact that she was selected – it is not given to everybody," said Svoboda.

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