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SY 2010-2011 News and Features

Area: Europe
Headline: Base organizations awards $38,000 in scholarships
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Date: June 10, 2011
Source Name: RAF Lakenheath
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FeatureLead: Students received 25 academic scholarships worth $38,000 by the Enlisted, Officers' and Civilians' Spouses Club and other base organizations

Lakenheath - Students from Lakenheath High School show their scholarship certificates at the annual scholarship banquet June 2, 2011, at the Galaxy Club on RAF Mildenhall. At the banquet, 25 academic scholarships worth $38,000, were awarded by the Enlisted, Officers’ and Civilians’ Spouses Club and other base organizations. 

Feature Image - Small: Lakenheath students received 25 academic scholarships worth $38,000
Feature Image 1 - Large: Students display scholarships
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Feature Image 1 - Credit: U.S. Air Force photo - Staff Sgt. Connor Estes
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Area: Europe
District: Bavaria
Headline: American kids extend birthday wishes to German city of Grafenwoehr
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Date: June 3, 2011
Byline: Molly Hayden, Grafenwoehr, Germany
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FeatureLead: American kids extend birthday wishes to German city of Grafenwoehr

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Ryland Edwards was nervous; it was big day for the 11-year-old Grafenwoehr Elementary School student.

"There are a lot of powerful people here," said Edwards.

Standing outside of the Grafenwoehr Rathaus among his fellow fifth-graders while second graders looked up to him, Edwards read aloud a birthday wish extended to Mayor Helmuth Waechter in honor of the city's 650th celebration.

"Living here means living in a town full of history, culture and tradition," read Edwards. "We are proud to spend this great birthday together with you."

The students then presented the mayor with a handmade banner.

Waechter inspected and artwork and smiled, thanking the children for their hard work.

Additionally, Waechter expressed his gratitude to U.S Garrison Grafenwoehr Commander Col. Vann Smiley and fellow community members for the rewarding relationship between the German and American nations.

Smiley shook the mayor's hand and addressed the children.

"Burgermeister Waechter ist mein Freund and my partner," said Smiley.

Students danced around in excitement as they followed Waechter, who escorted them into the meeting hall of the town council to explain how he enacts legislation.

They sat in plush chairs encompassing a large wooden table and asked questions about the mayor and the city he runs.

The meeting hall is where all the decisions are made, said Waechter.

Waechter has conducted business for the city of Grafenwoehr for 28 years and is currently in his sixth term as mayor. He works closely with the Army regarding development and projects in the training area and in the community. His day-to-day routine ensures the well-being of all citizens, both German and American, living and working in Grafenwoehr while maintaining the traditions of the small farm town.

Grafenwoehr is one of the oldest towns in this area and received its town charter in 1361, 131 years before Columbus discovered America, a fun fact that left the students in stitches.

"That's so old," whispered one second-grader in astonishment.


Feature Image - Small: Students celebrate the birthday of Grafenwoehr, Germany
Feature Image 1 - Large: Students celebrate the birthday of Grafenwoehr, Germany
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Area: Europe
Headline: DODDS 2011 Soccer Preview
Sub Headline: Veteran talent set to defend European titles
Date: March 16, 2011
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
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FeatureLead: When the 2011 high school soccer season kicks off Saturday, there will be no lack of quality teams and quality players.

When the 2011 high school soccer season kicks off Saturday, there’ll be no lack of quality teams and quality players.

Last year’s youth movement saw to that.

Nineteen of the 30 first- and second-team all-Europeans of each sex in 2010 were underclassmen. And despite the usual attrition created by change-of-station moves, 12 female all-stars and about as many All-Europe boys return for this season.

Unfortunately for schools wishing to challenge last year’s champions, a disproportionate number of those standouts are returning to teams that won European titles in 2010.

SHAPE’s Division I boys, for example, welcome back Manuel Vela (seven goals, six assists in 2010) and Trent Castro (eight goals, four assists), along with a dozen seniors, according to new coach Tony Harris.

Harris, whose last DODDS coaching experience was in Japan, replaces DODDS Europe legend Tony Blasio. Blasio had guided the Spartans since the 1960s and led the team to the D-I title last May in the school’s first campaign at that level.

Topping the returning-stars list, however, are the Patch girls. Coach Tom Manuel can call on four All-Europeans — striker Emma Murray (11 goals, six assists), keeper Ellie Welton and defenders Sara Reynolds and Alysia Verones.

In Division II, senior All-European Sofia Cianciaruso, the midfielder who converted a 40-yard free kick into the title-winning goal against AFNORTH last May, suits up again for Naples. And while AOSR’s three All-Europeans all graduated, the perennially contending boys team is loaded with replacement candidates, according to head coach Anthony DeNicola. They include junior Pietro Dinmore and freshman Francesco Dinmore, younger brothers of one of the 2010 all-star grads, and “sophomore sensation” Lucas Miller, a midfielder.

The major exception to this year’s rich-staying-rich rule is defending boys D-III champion Ankara, which placed no one on the 2010 All-Europe team. D-III girls champ Rota, on the other hand, returns All-Europe striker Bri’anna Am’mons (12 goals in 2010), the only D-III girl on the 2010 All-Europe team. She is among nine starters back, according to coach Clarice Brown.

So is star power likely to prevail in 2011? Here’s the consensus:

Division I Boys: 

SHAPE’s favored, although Ramstein, anchored by All-Europe forward Jonathan McLouth (14 goals, five assists) and bolstered by four freshmen who play “year-round” according to coach Dan Nukala, should test the defending champs.

Nukala provided his own take on the race in an e-mail last week.

“Who to worry about in our division? Everybody,” Nukala asked and answered. “Division I is always a battle.”

Division I Girls: 

With its quartet of stars, Patch figures to repeat, but Ramstein, which can field a returning All-European in defender Mackenzie Crews, always poses a threat. Heidelberg, which took Patch to overtime in last year’s title game, is rebuilding after losing three All-Europeans.

Division II Boys

According to Hohenfels coach Shawn Rodman, the power in D-II lies in the private schools.

“… to look at the front-runners for Division II, I think you have to look to Italian schools (AOSR and Marymount) and probably BFA, which is always good,” e-mailed Rodman, whose own Tigers welcome back seven-goal, six-assist All-Europe senior midfielder Patrick Junior.

Division II Girls

AFNORTH, the 2010 runner-up, appears poised to break through behind All-Europe midfielders Kaley Harless (three goals, six assists last season), a junior, and Stephanie Seitz (five goals, three assists), a senior.

Also in the mix are Black Forest Academy, behind returning All-European Stephanie Friehe, and SHAPE, led by All-Europe senior sweeper Ellen Campany. And it’s unwise to overlook perennial powers AOSR and Marymount.

“The international schools always are good in soccer,” Rodman stated.

Despite Cianciaruso’s return, defending champ Naples occupies a challenger’s role in 2011 after losing two All-Europe first-teamers.

And then there’s the sentimental favorite, Mannheim, led in its final season of all time by All-Europe junior sweeper Amber Veranen.

“We’ll keep playing, until they lock the gates on us,” Lady Bison co-head coach John Crockett said Tuesday in an e-mail.

Division III boys: 

Ankara won the first European title in school history, but striker Luca Santini, who posted a hat trick in last May’s 4-2 title-game victory over Alconbury, has moved back to Milan.

Alconbury, behind All-Europe sophomore midfielder-striker J.J. Black (four goals, eight assists despite missing two games), and Siognella, led by sophomore All-Europe striker Benjamin Jacks (10 goals, three assists), figure to make the small-schools title game this year.

Division III girls: 

With those nine returning starters, look for Rota to repeat. No one else, on paper at least, can match that sort of experience. Unless it’s Menwith Hill, bolstered by sisters Arielle and Brianna Rogers, who transferred in, and returners Kaia Pierce, Monique McCreary and Rachael Solini.


Feature Image - Small: Female Soccer Player
Feature Image 1 - Large: High School Soccer Players
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Sofia Cianciaruso of Naples shoots her game-tying 2-2 goal in the Division II championship game against AFNORTH last season. Cianciaruso, who will be returning for the Lady Wildcats this season, later scored the game-winning goal.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Micheal Abrams - Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
Headline: DODDS Students Heading to Robotics Competition in Las Vegas
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Date: March 16, 2011
Byline: Mark Patton
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
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FeatureLead: Twenty-eight high school students from Department of Defense Dependents Schools are heading to Las Vegas at the end of this month

WIESBADEN, Germany -- Twenty-eight high school students from Department of Defense Dependents Schools are heading to Las Vegas at the end of this month to see if a pair of robots they built are ready to take on the best made by their peers.

The students from Wiesbaden and Vilseck high schools, both in Germany, are competing against 38 other teams in a regional qualifier for a worldwide robotics competition. They were provided a kit of parts that had to be used to build a robot and program it to perform a specific task as part of the FIRST Robotics Contest.

FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — is a Manchester, N.H.-based nonprofit organization whose goal is to foster students' interest in engineering and technology. This is the fourth year that Wiesbaden's RoboWarriors Club has participated, while it's the first contest for Vilseck, which has teamed up with Wiesbaden for this year's entry. Schools need a robotics club to participate.

"We've got problems in this world that only engineers can solve, we need kids that can think out of the box," said Wiesbaden teacher Frank Pendzich, who is the team's adviser and coach.

This year's challenge is played on a 27-by-54-foot field where robots compete to hang as many inflated plastic triangles, circles and squares as possible on grids made of an upright board with poles and pegs during a timed period. The match ends with the team's robot deploying a minibot that races to the top of a pole for bonus points.

"This challenge is a lot more complicated than last year," said Wiesbaden senior Stephen Corey, who helped the RoboWarriors design a soccer-playing robot for last year's competition.

The work began in January when Vilseck students traveled to Wiesbaden for the announcement of this year's contest. For the next six weeks, the Vilseck team worked on the minibot. Meanwhile, the Wiesbaden students divided into groups, each working a particular piece of the overall construction. Programmers, builders, safety team members and even a virtual designer were all doing their part for the robot.

Pendzich said the team has put in about 1,500 hours of work on the robot, dubbed Frau POW! This is in addition to the hours put in raising funds. This year's team had to come up with almost $30,000 to help offset the cost of the trip.

Hanging the most objects isn't the most important part of the contest.

"It's not about winning the competition, it's about the teamwork and learning skills ... It builds an interest outside video games, movies and sports," said junior Shena Cousens, Wiesbaden's safety captain.

That means getting the robots to work the way they should.

"I don't really care if we win or not, we just care if [the minibot] makes it to the top," said Vilseck senior Franjo Lukezic.

Vilseck instructor Larry Chanin was amazed when he learned what the students were required to build, and said he hopes being mentored by Wiesbaden — which will be one of four DODDS schools worldwide piloting a robotics engineering course next year — will be the springboard for Vilseck to launch its own Robotics Club next year.

The students will head to Vegas on March 29. The preliminary rounds and finals are slated for April 1-2. There are several ways to advance to the championship, scheduled for April 27-30 in St. Louis, but the Wiesbaden team would have to finish in the top six to make the next round.

"I don't know what we would do" if the team advances, said Pendzich. "We would have to raise close to $30,000 to participate."

Feature Image - Small: Robo Warriors
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Feature Image 1 - Caption: Sparks fly as RoboWarrior club adviser Frank Pendzich uses a little low-tech to grind off a pair of screws from the arm of the club's robot.
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Area: Europe
Headline: Celebrate Read Across America Day
Sub Headline: It's time to grab your hat and read with Dr. Seuss!
Date: March 2, 2011
Byline: DoDDS Europe
Source Name: DoDDS Europe
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FeatureLead: Today is a great day to have your child revisit his or her favorite book, take a trip to your local library and discover a new book, or

Read Across America Day is celebrated every year on 2 March to commemorate the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, or as he is more commonly known, Dr. Seuss. This year the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) will join the National Education Association (NEA) and other K-12 schools across the United States and in a day of reading, learning and fun!

Today is a great day to have your child revisit his or her favorite book, take a trip to your local library and discover a new book, or even try reading one of your favorite books from when you were a child! The most important thing is to start reading and remember to have fun!

Encouraging Your Child to Read

Reading is an important life skill. Whether you read for pleasure or as a requirement for school you can always discover something new when you read.

If your child is less than enthusiastic about reading, try some of these helpful tips to get them off the couch and reading a book in no time at all!

  1. Find out why your child doesn't want to read. Is it because they find it boring, or is there a deeper issue? Finding out these reasons is important in getting your child to read.
  2. Find books that are recommended by children, parents and even celebrities! Find out who your child's favorite athletes, musicians and celebrities are and what they enjoy reading. Your child may enjoy reading these books as well. Look for books that have a novelty factor-like furry or sparkly covers, accessories and pop-up features.
  3. Offer Rewards for Reading. You might try offering rewards after children read a certain number of books. Perhaps they could win a treat each time they complete one. You could also try giving them a short quiz to test whether or not they understood the story after they complete a book. Many libraries also have book clubs for kids to encourage them to read during the summer. Children can win prizes for reading a certain number of books during these events. Check with your local library to learn more.
  4. Look for books that coincide with TV shows and movies. Even if your children love movies or television shows more than books that's okay. There are a number of publications available that tie-in with books and TV shows and may spark their interest. You can find everything from tie-in novels, to new stories, companion guides, and publications that look behind-the-scenes.
  5. Find books that are similar to their hobbies. Some children have a hard time being motivated about reading fiction, but they might enjoy reading about non-fiction topics. Also try to take them to places relating to their interests to encourage them even more.
  6. Make sure children read books outside of what is recommended for school. Often summer reading lists are what teachers and parents think students should read but are not often what children want to read. Make sure your child is reading books that they enjoy in addition to these summer reading lists.


Most importantly, be enthusiastic about reading. If your children see that you seem to enjoy it that feeling might just rub off on your kids!

Feature Image - Small: Dr. Bresell with a young student
Feature Image 1 - Large: Dr. Bresell spends time reading with a young student
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Dr. Bresell spends time reading with a young student
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Area: Europe
Headline: March: National Women's History Month 2011
Sub Headline: "Our History is Our Strength."
Date: March 1, 2011
Byline: DoDDS Europe
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FeatureLead: Women's unique contributions to the history of our nation merit our utmost praise and attention.

This year, the Department of Defense (DoD) theme for National Women's History Month (WHM) is "Our History is Our Strength." This year's theme pays tribute to the millions of women who have helped create a better world for the times in which they lived, as well as, for future generations. Women overcoming the many challenges they faced serve as a source of strength for all of us. Although women's history is intertwined with that of men, women's unique contributions to the history of our nation merit our utmost praise and attention.

Women's History Month traces its origins to International Women's Day, which took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. President Jimmy Carter issued the Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women's History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded this event into a month-long celebration as it is known today.

The history of women is in reality the most defining factor of who we are as a people. This year, the National Women's Project instead of recognizing National Honorees, they are encouraging communities and institutions to honor women from our communities, states, and organizations "whose lives and work have served to inspire the strength that comes from knowing the stories of these determined women."

You can pay tribute to the historical achievements of women who have made a difference in our country's history by visiting the bounty of historical sites and museums in Washington, DC dedicated to preserving and honoring the contributions of women as follows:

Sites to visit:

  • Clara Barton National Historic Site
    The home of Clara Barton served as the headquarters and warehouse for the American Red Cross where she coordinated relief efforts for victims of natural disasters and war from 1897-1904. Clara Barton National Historic Site is located in Glen Echo, Maryland adjacent to Glen Echo Park, a National Park for the arts.
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts
    The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located in the heart of Washington, DC and is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to celebrating the artistic achievements of women. The museum's permanent collection features more than 3,000 works of art by women from the 16th century to the present.
  • Sewall-Belmont House and Museum
    This women's history museum displays fine art and artifacts from the women's suffrage and equal rights movements. See furniture belonging to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and National Women's Party Party founder, Alice Paul. Sewall-Belmont House and Museum is a national historic landmark and has been the historic headquarters of the National Woman's Party since 1929. The museum hosts regular children's programs including arts & crafts and storytelling.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Museum
    The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was founded in 1890 as a women's organization dedicated to preserving American history and promoting patriotism. Its national headquarters, located in the heart of Washington, DC, houses a museum, a library and a concert hall. The DAR museum features 32 Period Rooms that depict regional American furnishings from the 17th to the early 20th century.
  • The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
    The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House served as headquarters for the National Council of Negro Women from 1943 to 1966. This site commemorates the life of Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American woman who grew up in poverty in South Carolina, yet rose to become an influential educator, presidential advisor, and political activist.

Lastly, soon to come to Washington, DC will be the National Women's History Museum. A non-profit educational institution has been established with the intent to build the first ever women's national museum in Washington, DC. They are currently working on securing a site.

From the White House

During Women's History Month, we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honor their role in shaping the course of our Nation's history. Today, women have reached heights their mothers and grandmothers might only have imagined. Women now comprise nearly half of our workforce and the majority of students in our colleges and universities. They scale the skies as astronauts, expand our economy as entrepreneurs and business leaders, and serve our country at the highest levels of government and our Armed Forces. In honor of the pioneering women who came before us, and in recognition of those who will come after us, this month, we recommit to erasing the remaining inequities facing women in our day.

This year, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. International Women's Day is a chance to pay tribute to ordinary women throughout the world and is rooted in women's centuries-old struggle to participate in society on an equal footing with men. This day reminds us that, while enormous progress has been made, there is still work to be done before women achieve true parity.

My Administration has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of our foreign and national security policy. Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do, it is also smart foreign policy. This knowledge is reflected in the National Security Strategy of the United States, which recognizes that countries are more peaceful and prosperous when their female citizens enjoy equal rights, equal voices, and equal opportunities. Today, we are integrating a focus on women and girls in all our diplomatic efforts, and incorporating gender considerations in every aspect of our development assistance. We are working to build the participation of women into all aspects of conflict prevention and resolution, and we are continuing to lead in combating the scourge of conflict related sexual violence, both bilaterally and at the United Nations.

In America, we must lead by example in protecting women's rights and supporting their empowerment. Despite our progress, too many women continue to be paid less than male workers, and women are significantly underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. By tapping into the potential and talents of all our citizens, we can utilize an enormous source of economic growth and prosperity. The White House Council on Women and Girls has continued to remove obstacles to achievement by addressing the rate of violence against women, supporting female entrepreneurs, and prioritizing the economic security of women. American families depend largely on the financial stability of women, and my Administration continues to prioritize policies that promote workplace flexibility, access to affordable, quality health care and child care, support for family caregivers, and the enforcement of equal pay laws. I have also called on every agency in the Federal Government to be part of the solution to ending violence against women, and they have responded with unprecedented cooperation to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence and enable survivors to break the cycle of abuse.

As we reflect on the triumphs of the past, we must also look to the limitless potential that lies ahead. To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow. My Administration is making unprecedented investments in education and is working to expand opportunities for women and girls in the STEM fields critical for growth in the 21st century economy.

As we prepare to write the next chapter of women's history, let us resolve to build on the progress won by the trailblazers of the past. We must carry forward the work of the women who came before us and ensure our daughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements, and no remaining ceilings to shatter.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2011 as Women's History Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, 2011 with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women. I also invite all Americans to visit to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

Barack Obama


Feature Image - Small: Womens History Month
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Feature Image 1 - Caption: Women's History Month 2011: Our History is Our Strength
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Area: Europe
Headline: Military Teens Click at Website
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Date: October 19, 2010
Byline: Terri Barnes
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
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FeatureLead: They're brats and proud of it, and they're connecting on "Military Teen" a new website

They're brats and proud of it, and they're connecting on "Military Teen" a new website initiated by Vernessa Neu, an Army brat turned Navy wife and mother of four.

Blog and forum topics range from step-parents and deployment to bullying and "Beowulf."

In a discussion board, young participants have no trouble completing the sentence, "You know you're a military kid when …" with thoughts like:

  • People ask you where you're from and you don't know what to tell them, because you've never actually lived where you were born.
  • You cry when your dad comes home cause it's proof he's still alive.
  • You argue with others that the term "brat" is actually very endearing.

Vernessa grew up in the Army and later joined the Navy. Now a full-time wife and mom stationed with her husband in Japan, Vernessa was inspired by one of her daughters to create an online community for military kids.

While preparing for a move, she and her oldest daughter went online to research prospective schools. Vernessa said her daughter was skeptical about the standard school-search sites.

"She said, 'That's what old people think. It doesn't mean it's really going to be that way. I'm not going to know anyone there,'" Vernessa said. She realized her daughter needed more than facts and figures about a new school.

"I remember that feeling of isolation and loneliness when we had to move when I was in high school," said Vernessa. "I remember how tough it was and how difficult it was to reconnect," she said.

More than a year ago, Vernessa imagined a site where military teens could connect with their peers to talk about places they've lived and share the challenges of their lifestyle.

Imagination became reality when Military Teen went online this summer at

Providing information about schools from a student's perspective is only one of the site's functions, said Vernessa, who serves as moderator and webmaster.

"There are lots of ways for kids to connect, express themselves, ask questions, get advice."

"The issues I m hoping to address are the constant moving and starting new schools, having to leave friends behind, new relationships and trying to keep the old relationships, having parents away, having both parents away, missing family," she said.

The transition to college is another important subject.

"I talked to one teen on the site," Vernessa said. "She's never lived stateside . . . and she's applying for colleges in California. What a challenge that's going to be. The first time she ever lives stateside, and she's going to be on her own."

Military high-schoolers living in the U.S. also have challenges – and fewer opportunities to connect with other military kids.

"Overseas we are so concentrated. When you're stateside, you are separated. Some of them don't live near military bases at all," she said, particularly children of reservists or recruiters.

Students at DODDS high schools daily rub elbows with peers from military families, but military teens in the States are much more isolated.

The goal of the site is to encourage teens, no matter where they live, to talk freely about their needs and experiences, said Vernessa.

"I've been there, and I know how it is. I'm just hoping to find a way to get them to open up and to connect."

Vernessa envisions the site as a springboard for face-to-face conferences where large groups of military kids can meet and share their lives.

"The website is just a beginning. I hope to expand it and meet their needs, not only virtually, but also in the military community."

More information, and more of "You know you're a military kid when ... " can be found at or from Vernessa at info@militaryteenonline.

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