Triple threat: PHS grads earn military scholarships

Posted 6/5/24

There will be approximately 3.1 million U.S. students graduating with a high school diploma this year. Between four branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy), there will be …

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Triple threat: PHS grads earn military scholarships


There will be approximately 3.1 million U.S. students graduating with a high school diploma this year. Between four branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy), there will be approximately 11,500 college scholarships awarded this year. My inferior math skills compute the statistical odds to be under a 1% chance one student from one high school will receive a military scholarship. To determine the odds of three students from the same high school being awarded a military scholarship, well, you're going to have to give Prescott High School a call and ask them. My calculator and the person operating it can't figure it out.

"I've been in education for 20 years," said Prescott High School counselor Jeremy Kerg. "And I've never had three in the same class. It's almost unreal."

Clinton Sizemore received an Air Force ROTC scholarship and will be attending the University of Portland, majoring in computer science. Breckin Schommer was awarded an Army ROTC scholarship and will be attending UW-Madison and majoring in biology. Nolan Thomley received an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

"All three of those kids are just amazing," said Kerg. "The fact they're using their academic brilliance to serve their country, my heart goes out to them. It's a big deal."

"I was interested in the military," said Schommer. "And I talked to Mr. Kerg and he told me about the Army ROTC and helped me through the process. I went for it."

Schommer, who carried a 3.9+ grade point average, also ran cross country and track for the Cardinals. He qualified for the state meet in La Crosse this past weekend in the open 800-meter and 4x400 relay. Schommer placed 11th at the state meet with a time of 1:59.82 in the open 800-meter.  

According to Schommer, his second grade teacher at Malone Elementary in Prescott was a huge influence of his.

"Mr. Lenn's the one that got me really interested in school and got me interested in running," said Schommer. "I'll miss everything I'm used to here in Prescott, but change is exciting, too."  

Sizemore also competed in cross country and track for the Cardinals, but also plays the drums in the band and is involved in theater as well. His plans are to focus in cyber security for the Air Force.

"Clinton is a very unique individual," said Kerg. "He's extremely talented in mathematics. He does everything you ask him to do. He fits the mold to a tee and I can see where cyber security will be right up his alley."

Sizemore's grandfather was in the Air Force and he also attended the University of Portland in the late 1960's.

"It's so beautiful out in Portland on the bluff," said Sizemore. "It's a smaller school, so I really liked that."

Missing friends was an inescapable common thread for all three recent graduates.

"I've known all my friends for 13 years or more," said Sizemore. "It will be really weird going out to Oregon. I'll have to find new people. Portland is going to be a lot different than Prescott."

Jeff Ryan just finished his 35th year of teaching. He teaches history and is the head baseball coach for Prescott High School. He coached Nolan Thomley for four years on the baseball diamond. Thomley was a three-sport star for the Cardinals. He was a receiver on the football team, went to state in wrestling at 152 pounds, and played centerfield and batted lead-off for the Cardinal baseball team.

"That's why I teach and coach," said Ryan. "To have a chance to interact with kids like Nolan. You get so happy for them when they achieve great things. Getting an appointment to the Air Force Academy, that's quite an accomplishment.”

"Mr. Ryan showed me what's out there and gave me a recommendation," said Thomley. "He's been really knowledgeable and helped me a lot. He had a former student go there (Air Force Academy)."

Prescott alum Brady Behrendt was a former student of Ryan's in 2005 and graduated from the Air Force Academy.

“You know Brady works at the Pentagon now,” said a beaming Ryan. “I consider it a privilege to spend time with all these kids.”

Thomley's Cardinal career is now officially over, as Prescott lost to La Crosse Logan in the WIAA region finals, 6-1 this past week. Thomley was 2 for 4 at the plate in his final game, finishing as strong as his college-level courses he's been taking his senior year.

"Nolan is everything the Air Force Academy looks for in a candidate," said Kerg.

"Just being in a military environment sounds really cool and being able to bond with everyone, "said Thomley. "That's what I'm excited for, but the biggest thing I'll miss will be all the people in Prescott."

Thomley, Schommer, and Sizemore will be spreading their wings and taking off to different parts of the country later this summer, but not before they receive a collective salute from Pierce County residents for a job well done. In military jargon, it is known as “Bravo Zulu.”   

Prescott High School, military, scholarships, Clinton Sizemore, Nolan Thomley, Breckin Schommer, college, Prescott, Wisconsin