US Marine Sgt. James White congratulates Cody Weldon, 18, with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship Tuesday, April 18, at Juneau-Douglas High School. Weldon was one of two Alaskan high school students to be given the scholarship. (Photo by Alex McCarthy)

JDHS’ Weldon cashes in on $180K military scholarship

Tall, toned and clean-shaven, Juneau-Douglas High School senior Cody Weldon already has the physique of a United States Marine Officer.

He’s about to add the education of one, too.

Sgt. James White, a United States Marines Corps recruiter from Anchorage, was on hand at a JDHS assembly Tuesday to recognize Weldon as a recipient of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. (ROTC) scholarship. Weldon stood beside Sgt. White at center court as the officer awarded him with a ceremonial $180,000 check. Sgt. White knew Weldon’s track record in school, athletics and community-life made him a good fit for the scholarship.

“He had great character, he was influential in the community, and he was a great athlete, and I was like, ‘Holy smokes, this guy might have the potential to win a scholarship that not many do,’” White told the students.

Naval ROTC scholarship applicants are evaluated by a board of Marine officers.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be in the military,” Weldon said. “The Marine Corps was the option I went toward because my grandpa was a Marine and when you think of the military, and you think of the best, you think of the Marine Corps, and I always strive to be the best, so it was kind of a no brainer.

Weldon plans to put the money toward Oregon State University — the only college in Oregon with an the Naval ROTC program. The mission of the Naval ROTC is to “ train college students for leadership roles as commissioned officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.”

Weldon was the state champion for the 220-pound weight class at the 2016 high school state championships in December.

When asked if he’ll be wrestling for the Beavers, Weldon said he’s still weighing that option.

“We’ll see, that’s a little bit up in the air, but I’ll probably do something along the line of wrestling,” he said.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or