The City of Jacksonville is hosting the ceremony for the North Carolina Semifinalists in the Military Child of the Year Award sponsored by Operation Homefront, a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families. The national nonprofit receives applications nationwide annually to recognize outstanding achievements of our military children. 96 semi-finalists were selected in January that included 10 individuals from North Carolina.

This year marks 15 years that the group has given awards to exceptional young people who have made a difference on their military families, their schools, and their communities.

The ceremony to honor the North Carolina Semifinalists will take place 4PM, Friday, April 28 at City Hall, 815 New Bridge Street in Council Chambers. City of Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips, Brian Pierce, Deputy Secretary NC Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and Ryan A Gnecco, SgtMaj, USMC Base Camp Lejeune are scheduled to speak. Rev. Trishaun M Kendall, St Julia AME Zion Church will provide the invocation. The Ceremony is open to the public.

Selections for the Military Child of the Year Award are based on scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria. Awardees were selected by a distinguished panel of volunteer judges who support the military community. Seven finalists are selected from the group of 96 and include a youth from each branch of the military in which their parent serves; Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force. Finalists are recognized at a ceremony in April held in Washington DC.

North Carolina Military Child of the Year Award 2023 Semifinalists:
Isabella Garcia, 16, Vass, NC; Grace Linville,18, New Bern, NC; Iain Nicol, 14, Carthage, NC;
Connor Nicol, 14, Carthage, NC; Lola Campbell, 17, Hubert, NC; Kailyn Carmichael, 17, Richlands, NC; Ashley Desten, 18 Vanceboro, NC; Stella Rodriquez, 18 Charlotte, NC; Ryley Skinner, 17, Camp Lejeune, NC; Ian Sterrett, 17, Moylock, NC