Three area students finalists for Marine Corps Military Child of the Year

    Left to right: Brooke Gruber, Jackson Beatty and Jennifer Narvaez (Operation Homefront photos)
    SAN ANTIONIO, Texas - Three local high school students are finalists for the 2017 Marine Corps Military Child of the Year award.

    Brooke Gruber, 17, of Jacksonville attends Northside High School. Jackson Beatty, 17, of Camp Lejeune attends Lejeune High School. Jennifer Narvaez, 16, of Hubert attends Swansboro High School. The three finalists were part of eight chosen from our area as semifinalists and were part of 90 overall semifinalists in seven categories from around the country.

    The other finalists are Sierra LeFlore, 17, of San Marcos, Calif., and Thomas Russ, 17, of Stafford, Va. The winners will be announced later this year.

    Each semifinalist will be interviewed by a panel selected by Operation Homefront Awards will be chosen by a panel of judges. Booz Allen Hamilton will judge competitors for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation.

    Every winner will be flown to Washington, D.C. along with a parent or guardian to receive the award from high-ranking military leaders.

    According to a press release, six Military Child of the Year Award winners ages 8 to 18, representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard, will receive $10,000 each. They will be selected based on their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership and extracurricular involvement. A seventh award, open to teenagers age 13-18 will be chosen as the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. They will earn $10,000 and a mentorship by Booz Allen Hamilton employees to scale or to advance the winner's project.

    Jeffrey Burds, then a senior at Lejeune High School, won the Navy award as a 2016 Military Child of the Year last March.

    More information about the Military Child of the Year Awards is available at

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