MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
While the challenges that come with being a service member or spouse are fairly well known, the challenges of the military child often go unnoticed.
Throughout the month of April, each branch of service celebrates the Month of the Military Child, to honor the struggles and hardships they must endure to succeed.
“We have experienced, first hand, the unique challenges this lifestyle presents to the children of military members,” said Diane Richey, mother to a military child. “Not just our own daughter, but also the children of our friends and our neighbors. Being successful in school, and in life, can be hard enough with the challenges in ordinary life, but add to that moving every few years - new schools, new houses, leaving behind your best friend, trying to make new friends, saying good-bye to your dad for many months at a time, and worrying about where he is and how he is doing. Military children face challenges that are far above those of civilian children.We need to recognize the fact that their successes are just more difficult to achieve.”
Diane and her husband, Master Sgt. Phillip Richey, communications chief, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group, have always stressed the importance of education on their daughter, KyLynn Richey.
KyLynn, who has gone above and beyond in the education aspect of her life, attributes her successes to a strong moral foundation from her parents and a strong relationship with God.
“Education is definitely a priority, but it is not my only top priority,” said KyLynn, student, Azusa Pacific University. “It started becoming really important to me around sophomore year in high school. That was when I learned that I could do really well, so I wanted to continue doing well. I am a pretty balanced person. So, I never really have one thing that completely takes over my life.”
Because of constantly moving, I do not have one specific place on earth that I consider home, according to KyLynn.
“When I was really young, I did not fully understand everything with my dad’s deployments and constant permanent change of station,” KyLynn said. “Around middle school it got harder to move and leave my friends. However, as I grew a little older, I started noticing the pattern of how I would always make new friends and love them and the new places just as much. I started to make the conscious choice to find the positive in new situations, and it has made all the difference.”
Despite the challenges of constantly moving and switching schools, KyLynn managed to achieve major success, becoming the valedictorian of her high school while her family was stationed in Hawaii.
“She has been an exceptional person and I am very proud of her,” said Phillip. “One thing I think she has taken away from the Marine Corps is accepting challenges ahead of you and pushing through them, rather than making excuses and avoiding them.”
KyLynn has also played a major role in every community she has been a part of, volunteering her time to help others.
“She spent her summers, during high school, volunteering at a summer camp for underprivileged children, she spent a spring break volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico, and has volunteered to work with other military children in different programs through base military chapels at our last three duty stations,” Diane said.
On May 5, 2014, at only 20 years of age, KyLynn will be receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design during a ceremony at APU. She will also be graduating with Cum Laude honors, which require a grade point average of 3.7 or higher.
“Senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to pursue graphic design in college,” KyLynn said. “Sophomore year of college, I decided that whatever I did, I wanted to be serving and helping others. I still do not know exactly what I want to do as a career. I am hoping that in what I end up doing, I will be able to use both my passion for creativity and service to others.”
As KyLynn’s college education comes to an end, she reflects on a life of accomplishments and offers guidance to other military children.
“I would say I know it is hard, but you should try to make a conscious decision to make the best of your situations,” KyLynn said. “Do not let small things, or lack of motivation, discourage you from doing well in school. This is just a short part of your life and it will be worth it in the long run to work hard now. People will disappoint you, but love them anyway. Forgive people, and put your trust in God.”