Two Branham High School Students Make History: Two Marine Corps Scholarship at One School

Campbell Union High School District

3235 Union Avenue

San Jose, CA 95124




Sergio Diaz Luna - Coordinator of Community Engagement and Communications, CUHSD - (408) 644-2557 or [email protected]
Captain Shae Crombie - Executive Officer of Marine Recruiting Station San Francisco - [email protected]

Two Branham High School Students Make History: Two Marine Corps Scholarships at One School
San Jose, CA - May 27, 2022


Image of Scholarship Recipients 

Pictured above (left to right) are Nicole Platko, Branham Assistant Principal Richard Ruiz, and Jacob DeSousa.

Branham High School Seniors Jacob DeSousa and Nicole Platko both earned a competitive Nationwide $180,000 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship from the United States Marine Corps.

The Executive Officer of Marine Recruiting Station San Francisco Captain Shae Crombie shared that two submissions from one high school are rare by themselves, but two winners, unheard of: “It’s the first time that I’ve ever seen it, in the 12th Marine Corps District that hasn’t happened before. Just the fact of having two submissions is an accomplishment, but having two winners is unprecedented.” Branham Assistant Principal, Dr. Richard Ruiz - a retired Marine Corps Major shared, “this is the only place west of the Mississippi for this to happen.”

The states of California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, and the island of Guam had only 44 scholarships total to work with and of Northern California’s 10 winners 2 were from Branham High School.

Jacob, whose older brother enlisted in the Marine Corps shared “One way or another, I was going to be a Marine. I was speechless [when I won the award] because I just wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps.” Jacob shared that Dr. Ruiz, Branham's Assistant Principal, was critical to the process – “I was in and out of his office almost the entire application process. He’s been my JROTC instructor and Assitant Principal and he’s been there every step of the way.”

Nicole shared “I was 8 years old when I first mentioned joining the military to my mother. [A]fter joining MCJROTC in my freshmen year of high school...I heard about the NROTC scholarship and winning it became a personal goal of mine that I maintained through my high school career. I’d like to acknowledge Dr. Richard Ruiz (Major) and Gunnery Sergeant Steve Mobley for their tremendous support and assistance in winning this award. Major is an incredible mentor and his guidance got me here.”

The application process is not easy, but for Nicole and Jacob it was worth it. Students need a strong mix of a good SAT or ACT score, high ASVAB score, leadership positions and community service, and a high score on the Marine physical fitness test. This along with two essay questions, three teacher evaluations with recommendations and two interviews with Marine Corps Officers. Dr. Ruiz shared, "The beauty of the Marines is that nothing is ever given, it is earned! So proud of these two for earning such a great honor. 100% strength, honor, and love.”

Jacob and Nicole will be funded at participating 4-year universities and become commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps at the end of the program. Jacob will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder and Nicole will be attending the University of Arizona.

Current High School Juniors can start applying for the scholarship - applications opened in April 2022 with an Initial Board Review in October 2022 and Main Board Review in February 2023 for senior graduates of the 2023 school year. Other students interested in applying to the prestigious scholarship you can contact Captain Shae Crombie [email protected] or visit the website at    

Schools do not need to have a JROTC program and students don’t need to be high school JROTC candidates to apply.

For more information please contact Sergio Diaz Luna at [email protected] and Captain Shae Crombie at [email protected]