WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's top officer presented the award for Navy Military Child of the Year during an evening gala at the Ritz Carlton in Arlington, Virginia, April 16.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert introduced the 2015 Navy Military Child of the Year awardee Emily Kliewer, an Orlando high school student and humanitarian.
"Emily believes in paying it forward and providing that rainbow in among the clouds," said Greenert. "She has a commitment to others, general compassion and concern, and she's that advocate for positivity."
The Military Child of the Year Award recognizes military children who have demonstrated themselves as exceptional citizens while facing the challenges of military family life.
Kliewer, a senior at Dr. Phillips High School (DPHS), will graduate in June as class valedictorian with a 4.92 GPA. She is DPHS's Swimming and Diving Team Captain, a four time school record holder, a three time NISCA All American Swimmer, and has placed in multiple events at the Florida State and Regional levels.
"Over the last 15 years... I have never met a student quite like Emily Kliewer," said DPHS Administrative and former Athletic Director Dean John Magrino. "I am not speaking about her accomplishments or her accolades, which could fill pages. Emily's character is impeccable and without question, her greatest quality."
Kliewer combines her athletic prowess and zeal for community service as a Special Olympics swimming instructor and volunteer coach. Her experiences working with Special Olympics inspired her to become a peer-on-peer mentor, where she serves as an assistant teacher and friend to special needs children.
"It is important to spread positivity and be nice to anyone and everyone," said Kliewer. "If you are nice to someone else, it starts the chain to spread kindness to a greater number of people-even to the point that it may come back around. Even more important, that bit of niceness may make someone's day."
Kliewer also participates in the Give Kids the World event, which allows for terminally or chronically ill children to come and vacation at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Emily has said that these volunteer experiences, in addition to working with the Navy & Marine Corps Relief Society, are some of her proudest achievements.
"Emily reminds us that military children serve as well; it's not just about deployments and separations, or managing, in her case, five moves in 10 years," said Greenert. "But Emily, like so many of our kids, does take service to a whole other level."
Operation Homefront, the award and event's sponsor, states the average Military Child of the Year Award nominee has: moved five times or more, experienced at least one parent deploy for 18 months or more, volunteered with service groups an average of 75 hours during the year, and has maintained above-average grades and excelled in extracurricular activities.
Kliewer is the daughter of retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kyle and Cynthia Kliewer. Her great grandfather, a World War II veteran, served in the Navy for 25 years. Both of Emily's grandfathers are also Navy veterans, as well as three uncles and five cousins serving in different branches of the armed services. Emily's older sister, Kaitlin, is working on her Ph.D. in civil engineering at Princeton University. Her other sister Nicole will graduate from Florida State University magna cum laude this summer.
"Now you've heard the term, 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree,'" Greenert said. "And in this case, tonight we have really kind of an orchard of service and accomplishment," continued Greenert, referencing the extended Kliewer family.
In her spare time Emily Kliewer is active in school honor societies, including the Science and Spanish Honor Societies, and was named CIS World History and AP Environmental Science Student of the Year.
"She is one of those rare students who will passionately pursue excellence no matter how high the 'bar' is raised," said Deborah Wasylik, Emily's AP Environmental Science Teacher.
Kliewer plans on attending the University of Idaho to study chemical engineering and continue her competitive swimming career at the collegiate level.
"She has a pretty good career ahead of her, I think," said Greenert. "I really admire these kids and what they stand for," said Greenert of the award recipients.
For more information on the Military Child of the Year:
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