Local teen awarded 2018 Marine Corps Military Child of the Year - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Local teen awarded 2018 Marine Corps Military Child of the Year

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Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2018 12:00 am

For the past decade, Operation Homefront has brought recognition to the extraordinary accomplishments of military children across the nation with the Military Child of the Year® Award. Since its inception, 42 children from all branches have been recognized. This year, Joshua Frawley, a freshman at White Oak High School in Jacksonville was named the 2018 Marine Corps Military Child of the Year for his outstanding academic performance, leadership and involvement in the community.

Frawley participates in a four-year Advanced Placement Program that incorporates Project Lead The Way’s applied learning courses in engineering and biomedical science. The 15-year-old takes all honors classes and maintains a 3.875 GPA.

“It’s exciting to see a White Oak student honored this way,” said Christopher Barnes, WOHS principal. “He is a freshman and I think he is going to be a strong leader in our school. We couldn’t be prouder of Joshua. This national recognition brings a great deal of attention to a well deserving young man and a large group of kids who are the backbone of our school. Our military kids give more than most know and I’m pleased that a White Oak student has the chance to represent them.”

Frawley has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that can make some social interactions challenging, although he has never let that get in the way of his determination to excel in everything he puts his mind to. Frawley’s drive to succeed and overcome life’s challenges is fueled by his desire to make his parents proud.

“I had a speech problem when I was little. I had to go to a speech therapist at the school every day,” said Frawley. “My peers didn’t really understand who I was and picked on me for quite a while in middle school. I had to overcome that with a little bit of help from the guidance counselor.”

When asked what motivates and propels him to accomplish so many positive things, he answered “My mother and father’s struggles so I can keep a smile on their face.”

As a military child, Frawley endured the constant moves and daily stressors of a military life style while his dad, retired Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Frawley, served in the Marine Corps. His dad served as an EOD technician and was medically retired as a disabled veteran. Frawley’s mom, Susan, is a cancer survivor. Frawley admires her fighting spirit and is very proud of both of his parents for everything they have done and endured.

“Mom is a warrior, she has been fighting cancer for quite a while now. She beat it once, she learned how to walk again because she got her leg amputated from the knee down,” said Frawley.

On April 19, Frawley was presented the Military Child of the Year® Award by Lt. Gen. Michael A. Rocco, deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs of the Marine Corps, at the annual awards gala in Washington, D.C. Frawley received $10,000, a laptop and a free cruise as part of the award. He also got a chance to visit Capitol Hill, meet members of Congress and tour the National Museum of American History.

“I’m excited to represent military kids as a whole and to represent the Marine Corps,” said Frawley.

During a press interview, Frawley’s dad expressed his pride in his son.

“I’m proud of the direction he’s headed,” said Daniel. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders.”

Frawley shared that his secret for maintaining good grades relies on hard work, focus and limiting distractions.

“I turn off my cell phone and try to go somewhere quiet if possible,” said Frawley, who also enjoys tutoring other students. “The satisfaction of being able to teach them something that they can use for the rest of their school career is amazing.”

The accomplished teen is also part of the WOHS Varsity Swim Team. He plans to train during the summer and return to the team next year. Frawley enjoys being part of the team and cherishes the welcoming nature of his peers who have shown a lot of enthusiasm about the award he received.

“They’re really proud of me,” said Frawley when asked about his team’s reaction to the award. “This year was my first time being on the swim team. It’s a group of the best people I meet with at the school. The sport is all about self-improvement because it is time based. I can beat where I was a week ago instead of having to worry about how good other people are doing.”

Retired Brig. Gen. John Pray Jr., Operation Homefront president and chief executive officer, congratulated the seven award recipients for their academic achievements and service to others during the gala award ceremony.

“They are remarkable representatives of a larger community of extraordinary military kids,” said Pray in a press release. “The nearly 400 nominees we had for our 10th annual Military Child of the Year® Awards all personified resiliency, leadership, achievement, and strength of character. Their families and their communities can be justifiably proud of each of them – and we are too.”

Pushing forward without fear of reaching out to others, is the message Frawley wants to convey to other military children.

“When things look tough, make sure you don’t stop looking forward to what is ahead,” said Frawley. “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try to find new friends and meet new people, because if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”

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