Nine DECA Students Receive Over $1 Million in Army ROTC Scholarships at 2018 DECA ICDC

Were you at DECA ICDC in Atlanta, Ga. in April? If so, you probably saw the U.S. Army at a variety of DECA events, including the warm-up session before the 5K run/walk, during the Executive Mentor Session, or you might have participated in the push up and pull up fitness challenge in the exhibit hall. But most importantly, you probably saw the Army on stage during the Grand Awards Ceremony as they celebrated a “million dollar minute” with nine of your DECA peers.

Yes, you read that right. Colonel Scott Sonsalla, U.S. Army Cadet Command, handed out nine ROTC scholarship checks to DECA students on stage during the Grand Awards Ceremony totaling nearly $1.2 million. Join us in congratulating the following students:

  • Marc Benjamino, Hanson, MA
  • Lindsey Brooks, Perrysburg, OH
  • Benjamin Douglas, Findlay, OH
  • Brian Femminella, Nesconset, NY
  • Brian Heavren, Wethersfield, CT
  • Christian Hlewicki, Lawrenceville, NJ
  • Samuel Hughes, Brownsburg, IN
  • Lorelei Legg, Falls Church, VA
  • Lauryn Spinetta, Austin, TX

Lindsey Brooks tells us her favorite part about DECA has been “learning how to present yourself in a professional environment. You learn how to dress, communicate, interact, and it really improves the skills you have out in the real world.” On a similar note, Benjamin Douglas’ favorite part is “getting a chance to meet other students who have the same interests as [him] and being able to widen [his] search when it comes to careers and development.”

Colonel Scott Sonsalla, U.S. Army Cadet Command, on stage with nine DECA students who received U.S. Army ROTC scholarships totaling nearly $1.2 million during the Grand Awards Ceremony.

Many of the skills learned in DECA will translate perfectly to the ROTC programs these students will be participating in  college. In fact, Lauryn Spinetta told us the skills she believes will be the most helpful are thinking quickly on your feet and critical thinking. She added that team building and knowing how to talk to people are also important skills learned through the DECA experience.

When asked what advice they would give to other students considering applying for ROTC scholarships, Spinetta simply stated, “Just do it because you never know. Be bold on your application and give it all you’ve got.” Samuel Hughes advises other students to work hard in school and to participate in activities and sports.

Douglas mentioned he has always been interested in the Army, but his biggest fear was not getting a college degree first if he enlisted. After learning more about the ROTC scholarship program, he discovered he could get his college degree and flex his leadership skills — “a great fit for who I want to be as a person,” he said.

These students will be graduating from high school soon and moving on to start ROTC programs along with their college majors in the fall.

  • Lindsey Brooks will be majoring in biomedical studies at the University of Cincinnati with a $36,600 Army ROTC scholarship
  • Lauryn Spinetta plans to study math, or something STEM related, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a $207,616 Army ROTC scholarship
  • Samuel Hughes will be majoring in homeland security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a $165,880 Army ROTC scholarship
  • Benjamin Douglas will be studying operations management at Ohio State University with a $46,711 Army ROTC scholarship

Colonel Scott Sonsalla met with his daughter Lucy, a DECA member, at the U.S. Army booth.


Not only did Colonel Scott Sonsalla hand out nearly $1.2 million in scholarships to DECA students, he also cheered on his own daughter Lucy who competed in the Sales and Marketing event at DECA. Lucy grew up in an Army family and while she is a big supporter of the military, she does not plan to go that route herself and her dad could not be more proud of her.

Congratulations, again, to the ROTC scholarship recipients at DECA ICDC 2018!


For more information about Army ROTC Scholarships, please visit You can follow the U.S. Army on Twitter @USArmy




Categories: College & Career Advice, Conference Highlights, Conference News, Financial Aid & Scholarships, High School, Partnerships