By VALARIE HARRING
A Mariner High School junior has been selected as one of only 50 students nationwide to take part in this year's prestigious Four Star Leadership Program with General Tommy Franks.
Mariner High School junior Carrick Brennan, 17.
Carrick Brennan, 17, will leave Sunday for the week-long program to be held on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City.
There, he will take part in the all-expenses-paid program designed to allow "50 of the top high school students in the United States to meet face-to-face with national and international leaders," to "develop skills in teambuilding, persuasive speaking, persuasive writing, and collective problem solving," the Four Star web site states.
The program culminates in the awarding of $15,000 in scholarships. It also affords participants an opportunity to receive endorsements, recommendations and internships from top world leaders - not a bad opportunity for a student with his eye on admission to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.
"Very proud," Brennan said when asked how he felt about being selected. "It's a great honor. Honestly, I don't know how to think about it, but I'm just excited to go."
An advance placement student who has already achieved the rank of command sergeant major in Mariner's JROTC program, Brennan was nominated by his commander, Mark Richards.
Brennan filled out the application and was notified of his selection in April. Now, he is preparing for the program, which will include exercises under the direction of "professional policy analysts, university professors, and other experts," all designed to provide top-level leadership skills that can be brought forward.
Program participants then will compete individually and in teams for the scholarships, which will range from $2,500 to the winners in persuasive speaking and op-ed writing to varying amounts for Student Congress. The scholarship amounts will be matched with awards to the students' schools.
"I'm really proud of him," said his mother, Colleen Brennan-Stoutnar. "He has aspired to go to Annapolis, and I think this will really pave his way. "
In addition to his mother, his family in Cape Coral includes his father, Allan Stoutnar, and his sister, Chloe Rose Stoutnar, 8, a student at Oasis Elementary.