If there is one word that describes sisters, Madison N. Hamby and Madelyn M. Hamby, it is driven. The West Wilkes High School twins succeed at just about everything they put their minds to, from academics to athletics.
Last Thursday, Madison and Madelyn were rewarded for their hard work when they were presented with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship during an awards ceremony at West Wilkes High School in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, May 19. The full-ride scholarship is applicable at any university with a participating NROTC program.
Born on December 18, 1997, the Hambys have always had a Marine Corps influence in their lives. Their grandfather, Anthony C. Molnar, a fire marshal for the town of Wilkesboro and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, gave them BB guns and taught them how to hide in brush.
“Pound for pound, they are the toughest girls around,” said Molnar. “Ever since they could walk and talk, I’ve always called them my little Marines. They would hide in weeds, and I would try to find them. They loved the Marine Corps and being outdoors.”
The sisters have been involved in athletics from a young age, playing soccer, basketball and volleyball through the end of middle school and running track and cross country throughout high school. Both qualified for the North Carolina Track and Field State Championship.
With GPAs of over 4.0, they are both honor graduates. They were enrolled in numerous advanced placement classes and took online courses with the local community college. They will both enter college with more than 20 credits already completed.
But the challenges found at school weren’t enough for the Hambys. While researching about the Marine Corps, Madison discovered the Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy, held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. They both decided to attend the week-long academy, which is meant to attract high school seniors and juniors who are academically sound and service-oriented. According to their informational materials, the SLCDA is designed to expose those students to the Marine Corps’ core values of honor, courage and commitment, while teaching them leadership and team building skills.
“It was a great experience,” said Madison. “It really taught me what the Marine Corps and Marines are like.”
The course also inspired Madelyn, who hadn’t planned on joining the Marine Corps, to apply for the NROTC scholarship.
“Their maturity and professionalism was much higher than your typical high school student or NROTC scholarship applicant,” said Capt. Brett J. Warming, the executive officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Raleigh and the
officer who interviewed the twins for their scholarship. “They talked like lieutenants and carried themselves like officers.”
The twins will both be attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Madelyn wants to study journalism while Madison wants to major in peace, war and defense. They are scheduled to attend a 6-week Officer Candidates School in the summer between their junior and senior years. Upon graduation they will be commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps.
“I can’t be any prouder than I am right now,” said Molnar. “It wouldn’t matter what branch of the service they choose, but it means so much to me that they chose the Marine Corps.”