Future midshipman from Central Kitsap always knew drinking milk would pay off

James Mackovjak, 17, will leave for Disney World Thursday as part of a scholarship he won through the company behind the Got Milk? campaign. He will be joined by his twin brother and his parents. - Christopher Carter/staff photo
James Mackovjak, 17, will leave for Disney World Thursday as part of a scholarship he won through the company behind the Got Milk? campaign. He will be joined by his twin brother and his parents.
— image credit: Christopher Carter/staff photo

Central Kitsap's James Mackovjak will share something in common with tennis star Andy Roddick, basketball's Chauncey Billups and Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson this weekend: A milk mustache.

The Central Kitsap High School senior was selected from nearly 45,000 for a $7,500 scholarship from the company behind the Got Milk? advertising campaign.

In addition to spending this weekend in Florida visiting Disney World and dining out with high-profile athletes, James Mackovjak will also appear in an advertisement sporting the familiar mustache that will appear in USA Today.

One of many scholarships he applied for, James Mackovjak, 17, said he thought this one might be a waste of time.

"I thought there was a zero percent chance of me getting it," he said, adding that he is still taking it all in since he found out he was selected in May.

The scholarship is given to 25 high school seniors who excel in academics, athletics, community service and leadership — and of course, who drink a lot of milk.

He was discouraged by how many student athletes, just like him, had applied.

"Just the fact that the applicant pool was kind of astounding, receiving it is just a huge honor compared to the smaller local scholarships," he said.

Had he been passed over for the Got Milk? scholarship, James Mackovjak would still have some financial security — he already accrued about $8,000 in scholarship money in addition to a full-ride to the United States Naval Academy where he plans to graduate as an officer in the Navy.

James Mackovjak is no stranger to the spotlight.

Last summer, James Mackovjak, his twin brother John Mackovjak and their father, David Mackovjak, embarked on a cross-country charity bicycle trip which garnered national media attention.

In high school, James Mackovjak finished his senior year with a 4.0 grade point average, lettered in three sports — swimming, cross country and track — and took a heavy course load including eight Advanced Placement classes between his junior and senior years.

He said he doesn't push himself to win awards, but they can be a sign, he said, that he's doing something right.

"I worked hard throughout my high school career not to be second best," he said. "It's nice to get recognized."

It would be fitting for James Mackovjak's busy life that even during the summer, while enjoying time with family, he would be already gearing up for the next step.

He won't come home from Florida. Instead, he'll head straight to Annapolis, Md., to get settled in for life at college.

While he said he's excited for his Florida trip, there's another reason the scholarship carries weight — it's a little victory between rivals.

John Mackovjak applied for the same scholarship but didn't receive it.

"If one twin keeps getting A's, the other one has to keep up," he said of the competition between him and his brother.

John Mackovjak said the competition is a blessing.

"That's what makes us excel," he said. "Through that, we're very lucky to have each other to push each other."

He said he isn't too concerned that his brother beat him to the scholarship. He brought in nearly $10,000 in scholarship money for himself and will join his twin in Annapolis as an officer-in-training where there will be more opportunities to compete against one another.

They won't be roommates though, and John Mackovjak joked that it was for the best.

"They want to separate us now so we don't cause the academy trouble," he said.

The advertisement featuring James Mackovjak will run in the June 25 issue of USA Today.

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