Video+Story: Chapin Senior is Semifinalists for National Military Child of the Year Award

A Chapin High School senior who is Harvard University-bound and received a nearly perfect SAT score is on the shortlist to become one of the few students named 2018 Military Child of the Year by a nonprofit working with military families.

Operation Homefront announced earlier this month that Chapin’s Bryce Kim is one of 15 students nationwide to compete to represent the U.S. Army in the national scholarship contest. A total of 95 semifinalists were announced for all six branches of the Armed Forces.

“El Paso doesn’t always have a semifinalist every year and so it’s an honor just to bring this kind of recognition to our school and Chapin,” Kim said.

The Military Child of the Year is awarded to six students representing each branch of the Armed Forces – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. The honor is awarded to students based on their volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life.

“This is my 11th school now and the fact that I was able to transition smoothly and succeed academically as well as be involved in athletics and community service really helped,” Kim said.

The Chapin Husky, who competes in cross country and track, also is a Student Ambassador and member of the National Honor Society.

“Bryce understands the special and unique microcosm for the family of United States Army soldiers’ families,” said Donna Churchill, Kim’s AP English IV teacher. “That fabric that unites military families provides a solid foundation for support and confidence which has allowed him to adapt wonderfully to his new city, the diverse cultures and new school. He is an excellent role model as a military child.”

Churchill wrote a letter of recommendation on Kim’s behalf for the application process. Her letter stressed how he embodies the army’s core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor and integrity and personal courage which makes him an ideal candidate to represent the Army as the Military Child of the Year.

“Bryce is one of those rare students that teachers adore due to the depth of discussion that results from his questions, observations or comments,” Churchill said. “He is unafraid to march to his own drum. He also has a unique ability to be serious without taking himself too seriously.”

The award recipients will travel to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at an April 19 gala, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards.  The winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship, a laptop and other gifts. Kim is the only finalist in the El Paso area and among three in Texas competing to represent the Army.

Story by Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD