MONROE, Ga. — Dos Harper wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Although he was nominated for the U.S. Military Academy, he wasn’t offered a spot at West Point after his senior year in the Newton County School System. Harper went on to the University of Georgia, however, with his dreams of military service undeterred.
For that, Rep. Jody Hice presented Harper with an Army ROTC scholarship on Wednesday afternoon. Part of the Army Congressional Scholarship Initiative, the four-year grant helps with tuition, room and board and books for students who aren’t accepted to West Point due to the limited number of seats but still make a positive impression.
Hice said he was struck by Harper’s “persistence” during the past few years.
“He obviously was qualified,” Hice said. “You’ve got to be the top of the line to get a nomination.”
Harper graduated from Eastside High School in May, although he attended the Newton College and Career Academy. While there, he developed an interest in beekeeping and that got him involved in the FFA. Eventually Harper was elected president of the FFA for the College and Career Academy chapter, and he was elected in April as a vice president for the North Region of Georgia FFA.
He also was selected as Youth of the Year by The Covington News in April.
Now he’s majoring in agriscience and environmental systems at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is also a part of the Army ROTC at the University of Georgia.
After he graduates in Athens, Harper will be committed to at least four years in the U.S. Army. However, he said, “I’m planning on serving for as long as I can.”
During a ceremony on the lawn of the Historic Walton County Courthouse, outside Hice’s Monroe office, the congressman told Harper’s relatives he thinks the UGA freshman has a bright future.
“We know already what kind of young man this is,” Hice said. “It does my heart so much good to know that our military leadership is being placed in this kind of citizen.”
Harper’s father, Lance, said his son was looking at military academies for at least two years and first considered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, before setting his heart on the Army’s academy in West Point, New York.
“God always had a plan,” Lance Harper said. “I think he’s put his faith in God, and it led to Georgia.”