A well-known fact about military life is that military families move a lot. Military families move an average of once every three years. One of the biggest disruptions this can cause for military teens is changing schools. These constant changes make it a problem to feel like you’re part of the community around you. But there are also practical issues that not everybody thinks about. Changing schools can be especially hard for high-schoolers. Different states, and different school districts, have different high school graduation requirements. Washington State schools may require two semesters of a foreign language to graduate, while those in Texas only require one quarter of a foreign language. And many high schools don’t always offer the same classes in the same years. If you’re not careful, you could end up missing a class that’s required for graduation from the high school you are attending the year you are supposed to graduate, and not even know it! What to do? Well, military kid Carolyn came up with a great solution. As part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Carolyn created a listing of high schools around the United States and what their graduation requirements are. “For the project, it's supposed to be something that can help your community and being a military kid it was kind of hard for me to find a community that it would help because I was starting to come up with ideas, mine was in Texas, and I had only been there for a year,” says Carolyn. “Whatever I was going to do, it wasn't even going to be finished when I was living there.” Because Carolyn comes from a military family, her community includes the many places she’s been. This was a challenge, because a key to Gold Award projects is that they’re meant to be community focused and sustainable. So Carolyn created a resource that could be used by the broader “military community” across the nation – and her mom used her broad social media network to get the word out about it. It quickly took on a life of its own as those community members pitched in and began to spread the word. “When I finished it my mom had a lot of resources.” Carolyn explains. “She put it on her Facebook. She had me email a lot of websites that she had been on, that she uses whenever we move and so it all started to fit. So things like just getting it out there will hopefully inspire people to help try to keep it sustainable…. For me when I filled out my final report, I said the sustainability of my project was just the knowledge that people would have from the document and being able to pass it on to others. As for Carolyn’s future plans, she’ll be heading off to college, and a future in the sciences. “I wanted to do marine biology for as long as I can remember,” she says. “I remember watching Shark Week and I was always like, ‘I want to be on Shark Week.’ Then one day I was watching it and it had the title Marine Biologist under someone's name and I was like, ‘Oh, that's what I want to do.’" Projects with your family, and projects in your community, can go a long way towards making you feel that you have power, even when other forces affect where you live. Try finding ways you can help the military community you’re part of, your family, or your friends. And keep coming back to Military Kids Connect to share stories with one another!
Revised: Tue, 11/26/2019 - 09:56 | Military Kids Connect Staff Writer | Views