Mark moved for the 10th time, from Virginia to Washington state, the summer before his senior year. He carries a 4.25 GPA with a course load of Advanced Placement statistics, anatomy, physiology, European history and literature. Mark earned three varsity letters in cross-country and placed third with his team at the state championship. He earned the prestigious rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts at just 13 years old. Mark teaches Sunday school, visits shut-ins every other weekend and volunteers at the local VA thrift store and elderly village. His school principal, John McSmith wrote, “Mark is a person of character who always does the right thing. He is thoughtful and considerate to everyone, willing to help and work for the success of the team.” He participated in the Duke University TIP Program for clinical psychology and shadowed a surgeon for 20 hours for his senior honors project, all in pursuit of a career in medicine. Mark will study pre-med and has been accepted to the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Michigan and Baylor University and awaiting to hear back from Air Force ROTC and a few other universities. He is the son of Jill and Brian Newberry.
Nicole, age 16, has moved 9 times and so far, attended 3 high schools. Despite these constant changes, Nicole is ranked near the top of her class with a 4.7 GPA, a weighted score based on her coursework of Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She has earned varsity letters in both cross-country and track, and runs half-marathons with her father. Nicole served as the Military Child Education Representative for Fort Lee on a panel determining ways to help military children transition between schools. Nicole also volunteers with a Family Readiness Group, the Fort Lee Spouse’s Club, and spends weekends visiting National Guard and Reserve units to teach soldiers and dependents about their education benefits. Nicole was nominated by her school counselor, Tara Bauman-Seely, who wrote, “She is truly an example of a well-rounded student and immediately embraced her new environment and involved herself with extra-curricular activities. She certainly stands out to me as a role model for military students!” Nicole is the daughter of Cathy and Edward Daly.
Amanda is a gifted and talented senior with a 4.0 GPA and is captain of the varsity soccer team and track team. She is a member of the Peer Leadership program which helps freshman acclimate to their new school by providing an older student to talk to about problems and make sure they aren’t getting bullied. Amanda was the Teen Panel member of the Military Family Action Planning Committee and volunteers with her soccer team, student council and National Honor Society to organize beach cleanups and fundraisers. She conducts senior citizen home visits with her church youth group. Amanda is Red Cross CPR and First Aid certified and works as a lifeguard at the local community college. Amanda was nominated by her school counselor, Kelly Reising, who wrote, “Frequent moves have always been a part of her life and so Amanda adapted quickly to her new environment. From the beginning, it was clear that Amanda was resilient, hard-working and intelligent.” Amanda will begin college at the University of Central Florida where she will study to be a physical therapist. Amanda is the daughter of Christina and Richard Schultz.
Abigail is student council president and captain of the cross-country team and track and field team. She carries a 4.1 GPA as a full International Baccalaureate (IB) senior with advanced placement courses in economics, calculus, European history and physics. She has volunteered over 200 hours this year including math tutoring and as president of Student 2 Student, has grown the outreach of this group which helps new students acclimate to their new school and host country culture. Linda Berger, the IB Coordinator for Bahrain School, wrote, “In my nearly thirty years as a secondary school educator, I regard Abigail as one of my top students. She is intelligent, talented, highly motivated and positive.” Abigail has earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and plans to study development economics and Arabic. She would like to work as an attaché or Foreign Area Officer and in the long term, as a diplomat or run for public office. Abigail is the daughter of Jessica and Jason Perdew.
Born at 25 weeks and 1.5lbs, Alexander Ray Burch was not expected to survive the night. He pulled through but at age four, doctors discovered he was hearing impaired and would continue to lose his hearing with age. Instead of limiting him, Alexander excels in doing for others. While living in Guam, then nine-year old Alexander collected food and water and delivered supplies to villagers who lost their homes in a devastating typhoon. Since then, he has grown into an honors student and chess enthusiast who immerses himself in volunteering, over 400 hours this past year including producing a video for an Anti-Bullying Campaign. He is a member of the golf team and on homecoming court. Dawn Thompson, Director of Youth Programs at Grand Forks Air Force Base wrote, “There is nothing he will not do and ‘no’ does not appear to be in his vocabulary. He is an inspiration for all kids and many adults.” While his hearing disability prevents Alexander from pursuing his dream of a Navy career, he plans to study at the University of North Dakota for a career in government supporting the military. Alexander is the son of Joanne and David Burch.
United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is the presenting sponsor for the Military Child of the Year® Award. UTC, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company that provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.
Additional event sponsors include: Wounded Warrior Project, Military Times, Soldiers’ Angels, Veterans United Foundation, Bank of America, Express Scripts, TeenCentral, LaQuinta Inn & Hotels, Flextronics, and Northrop Grumman.