Being a military kid is ‘really hard,’ but it’s also full of opportunity

On Veterans Day, Americans honor the services of men and women, but military life also affects their families. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reached out to students at the Department of Defense Education Activity Schools in Bahrain and Granby High School in Norfolk, Va., to ask them to tell us about their experiences.

Some students expressed initial feelings of skepticism about traveling to places they had never heard of and sadness on leaving friends, family and country behind.

“You hear you’re moving to the Middle East and you kind of panic a little bit because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said senior Brandy Oliver.

For elementary school student Caleb Lapp, it’s a challenge.

“I have to leave all my friends,” he said. “I make new friends here in Bahrain, but they don’t fill in the friends which I have been with in the USA for seven and a half years.”

Senior Rebecca Filak can relate.

“Schools have been pretty hard. I’ve been to five different elementary schools, one middle school and this is my third high school,” she said.

Senior Dylan Jensen described how military life offers global perspective and maturity.

“I think I’ve definitely become a more independent individual,” he said. “I also think it’s taught me a lot of discipline. … just seeing how they work and their structure.”

Kasey Lacore explains the faster pace of growth in children with parents in the military.

Another opportunity the students talked about was their unique exposure to different cultures. Senior Mia Cockley, who attends school in Bahrain, flashes her henna body art as an example.
Video screen grab by NewsHour

“I’ve been able to experience a lot of different things, like the henna for example,” she said. “I see a lot of people in the states doing it and I come back here and it’s, like, nice to see (the region) it’s come from and where it started.”

The Student Reporting Labs program is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the American Graduate initiative.