UNC student earns rare Marine scholarship

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 30 men and women earned a red, white and Carolina blue cord Friday ahead of UNC’s graduation this weekend. They’ve not only earned a diploma, they already have a job lined up in the military.


For four years, Isaiah Leiva participated in physical training three days a week, maintained a high GPA, and earned a Marine Options Scholarship, only given to 10 people in the country.

The soon-to-be graduate told CBS North Carolina that “it hasn’t been easy.”

Especially with a surprise last year.

“It’s been an interesting journey having a child this summer,” Leiva said.

Leiva will officially graduate from the University of North Carolina this weekend and then join the Marine Corps.

Before he picks up his diploma on Sunday, his fiancé graduates, Saturday.

If the weekend weren’t exciting enough, they couple is getting married on Monday. “Getting married is the perfect way to top it all off,” Leiva said.

Thursday, Leiva will head to Jacksonville, North Carolina, his hometown, and report for temporary training.

“It seems like all the hard work is starting to pay off,” he said.

In the end, he has hopes to become a Marine Corps. pilot.

While Leiva was the only ROTC member to graduate and head into the Marine’s this year, UNC’s current freshman class features 15 students who plan on becoming Marines.

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