Richmond Hill senior Julia Mazel has been a military child her whole life, so it is only fitting that she has been named a semifinalist for the Military Child of the Year Award, presented by Operation Homefront.
A finalist representing each branch of the military will be announced in February, and the winners will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to be recognized.
Mazel, 17, is competing in the Coast Guard category. The award is based on scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement and other criteria while facing the challenges of military life. It also includes a $10,000 scholarship.
Her parents, Erin and Jim, are both Army veterans and her father is currently active duty Coast Guard, stationed at Hunter Army Airfield.
Mazel has lived in Richmond Hill since the eighth grade and said it is the longest she has ever lived in one place.
“Richmond Hill has a lot of resources for military families and people are very understanding, even those who are not military,” she said.
Mazel said she came across the award while researching scholarship options. Her ultimate goals is to attend the University of Georgia and become a veterinarian. She also said she will most likely join the military at some point to help pay for college.
Mazel is a member of the Wildcat marching band, National Honor Society, Beta Club and SADD, and participates in the Science Olympiad.
Operation Homefront, based in San Antonio, is a nonprofit organization that assists military families with housing and transition needs.