June 26, 2018

Saluting Earl Woods Scholar Alum and U.S. Army Ranger Mikaya Dell’Orfano

In today’s post, our Senior Director of Programs, Cristina Fernández, writes in to celebrate Earl Woods Scholar alum Mikaya Dell’Orfano, who recently completed Army Ranger School – one of the most challenging programs in the military. Proceeds from our golf tournaments, including the Quicken Loans National, which begins this week in Washington, D.C., directly supports our Earl Woods Scholars on their path toward success. Continue reading to learn more about Mikaya.

I first met Mikaya Dell’Orfano at Fenway Stadium. He was a high school senior in Boston and interviewing to become an Earl Woods Scholar. I recall when interviewing and reading his application how certain he was about his career path and his understanding of the steps he needed to take. Even then, Mikaya knew how important college was to his future and when asked what inspired his path he said, “I have wanted to be an officer in the U.S. Army my entire life, and this is the best road I can take.”

From the moment I met him, I sensed the strong work ethic instilled in him. He was serious, hardworking and intelligent. Mikaya continually strives to make himself better and goes above and beyond to challenge himself.

It wasn’t a surprise when he decided to attend the University of North Georgia. Mikaya was passionate about his ROTC cadet program while in college and spoke about serving his country whenever we connected. It was important for him to attend a senior military college and to be commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant upon graduation.

After graduating, he reported to Fort Benning and spent a few months in an Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course, as well as an Army Reconnaissance Course. As if that wasn’t enough, after completing the course, he decided to attend Army Ranger School this past February. With a 30 percent pass rate, Army Ranger School is tough, but I knew that Mikaya was going to give it his best effort.

He has said on more than one occasion that challenges bring out the best in him, and he embraces them with open arms. I can only imagine what Mikaya was thinking when he was told after completing 61 days, that he had to go back to square one and begin training again.

It proved victorious, and after 90 days of Ranger School, Mikaya successfully completed his training –a major milestone for him and his family. Having his mother there for the pinning ceremony was especially significant. As a single-parent, she worked tirelessly to support her son as he achieved his dreams.

Mikaya is currently assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment in the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum. He is looking forward to a bit more ‘relaxation’ and is excited to give back to the Earl Woods Scholar Program and offer “pump it up speeches” to any scholars he can assist.

“When people think you are done, you’re not even close to being half done; you’re just getting started,” Mikaya poignantly shared when reflecting on what he learned from Ranger School. Mikaya knows that we are all capable of more, himself included. We can’t wait to see what new heights he will continue to soar to.

Congratulations to Mikaya Dell’Orfano from all of us at TGR Foundation!

 Redefining what it means to be a champion.