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APO, AE 09136

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Vilseck High School

Bavaria District

Name: Malia Carson

What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I will be attending the College of Saint Benedict for Nursing and Communications.

What are some of your favorite school memories that you will take with you as you move on to the next chapter of your life?
C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind”; if this is true I am in for one crazy ride, because my high school years were some I will never forget. As the Student Council President, I have motivated an entire crowd of high school students at a fasching-themed pep rally by cutting off the principal’s tie and letting each sports team (including mine--rifle) beat up the evil-spirited, winter “nubble doll”. I have coerced a group of participants to dine on a shared bowl of rice at a fundraising “Hunger Meal” to let them experience firsthand the living conditions in third world countries while raising funds for charity: water. I have found out you can rock climb, repel, march for hours, get yelled at for anything and everything, eat at the mess hall three times a day, and even have free time to bond with new cadets when you wake up at o’ dark thirty during the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge summer camp. Living on a military base, I have seen first-hand how freedom equates to heartbreaking military memorial services and heartwarming welcome home ceremonies and how those directly impacted both myself and the students at school. I have watched the truly thankful face of a child at a Romanian Service Project and now aim to see that look very frequently for the rest of my life. I have stayed at the school long after the bells rang to cook, watch movies, play soccer, and even participate in a midnight Easter Egg hunt during Future Educators Association (FEA) lock-ins. With the National Honors Society, I have literally dug through the school trash after hours to visually show students how much more the school could be recycling. Marching off the plane from Germany to America with my marksmanship team dressed in matching hot pink pants, I have been a part of the best ALL-GIRLS team that rose to new levels as European champions and two time National qualifiers ending up at 6th place across the entire Nation. (Surely, No other team blew up gingerbread houses, shot through life savers, or was able to yell “Bulls eye!” during practices.) Then I have screamed and cheered louder than should be possible during my cross country races (despite lots of snow and rain) and soccer games (sometimes leading to too much excitement followed by fouls) to truly learn the power of motivation as a captain. This list of my favorite school memories could go on and on but in closing, I will never forget the constant laughs and adventures with my friends, the knowledge and selflessness of my teachers/mentors and the relentless love and support from my family!

What will you miss most as you look back on your DoDDS-Europe overseas school experience?
With a background of three different continents, seven separate schools, and nine houses to call home, answering the simple question, "Where are you from?" is nearly impossible thanks to my military upbringing; however, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I can’t yet fathom leaving DoDDS and those surrounding me who understand this concept of not wanting to live in a fishbowl that remains isolated from the wonders of the world. My first DoDDS experience was in Korea where the locals would flock over to touch my blonde hair and rows of giant kimchee pots produced a constant pungent smell in the air. Currently, I’ve been spending my high school days in a small town in Germany where I can lace up my running shoes, fly out the door of my flower-box decorated house, and sprint by cow pastures, elderly walkers, religious crosses, and the smell of pretzels. If I had just lived in the same little American town all my childhood I would have never learned the appreciation of locals when you try to speak their language, the crazy cultural foods this world offers (like giant schnitzels, silkworm larvaes, or spargel), and the fact that we as Americans’ have so much to be thankful for yet we take most of it for granted. Not only will I miss the overseas part of DoDDS, but I’ll never forget my roots as an Army brat. I’ll be lost at 5 o' clock each day knowing on post somewhere soccer practice is halting, cars are stopping, and hands are flying up to salute as the post's flag is lowered and the loud speakers blast the proud bugle call. I will have to keep my own cadence count to replace those of marching soldiers, and just imagine the tanks, cannons, and parachutists I use to routinely see. And I can’t forget about using acronyms for just about any object with a multi-word name—it might just have to become a college study tactic. Well-traveled, military brats truly understand the value of respect; it is all about learning and understanding the value of people, places, and customs around you with an open mind. I will miss not only the constant reminders of sacrifice and service from the DODDS’ experience, but also be around others with this similar mind set of resiliency and overall exceptional social skills.

What advice would you give to the current underclassmen?
High school is a time to soak in as much as you can while you still owe the world nothing. You can robotically fly through these next four years learning little and rebelling much to seek the title of being “cool”, but once you graduate into “freedom” your “cool” buddies will leave you high and dry. So, GET INVOLVED!! These are the moments to figure out what life is all about and just how you might fit into it. I’m not going to lie, freshman year is frightening. There are new activities, new requirements, new social codes, and new students you will have to filter out to find the perfect ones to sit next to during lunch; just remember you are not alone---you will be surrounded by other newbies searching for the second floor pool during the first week. Freshman year is the year to find out what you are truly passionate about. Is it golf, robotics, video comm, science, math, yearbook—you may surprise yourself sign up and try it all. Then, sophomore year stick with what you are good at and get even better! Junior year is when you begin to focus this passion into a possible career choice, and then senior year is when you stress about college and scholarships and leaving your mommy and eventually just get senioritis before you explode (but let’s back up and focus on where you are in life right now). High school has taught me that you can take AP classes, preside over Student Council, play a sport every season, sign up for just about every club offered, and still have time for friends. I have observed that complaining and worrying are not nearly as effective as having faith that God’s plan will be evident in time. But most importantly, I have learned that without change, without diversity, without questioning, wondering, and discovering, we become egocentric and simple-minded. We follow the misconception that respect is having others submit to us and let our own daily stressors surpass all else to forget what matters most. That “life is pretty much a selling job and success and failure is essentially a matter of human relationships”. So walk into those large scary doors, smile at everyone, try out for all the clubs, suck up to your teachers, and don’t be afraid to be called a nerd!!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Myself in 10 years---oh goodness it took me all of senior year to decide where I would be next year alone, but I’ll give this a shot. The next four years I will be shivering away in Minnesota at the College of Saint Benedict where I will earn my degree in Nursing and Communications. Then, because I have never lived in one area for over four years (thanks to growing up as a military brat) I will be in desperate need of change. So upon graduation, I hope to do missions abroad with various non-profits as the video documenter, nurse, and public health expert. I’ll utilize my kid magnet personality to fight the obesity epidemic in our youth as a fitness/nutrition camp trainer. Then, I’ll have to practice what I preach by traveling around to do some famous races—so look out Color Run, Warrior Dash, biathlons, and maybe even the Ironman. Some people go through a rebellious age in their teens, but I waited to go through a YOLO stage post-college. After all this resume buffing, it will be time for me to somewhat settle down into a steady career. Here is where I will turn to my best traits, being interpersonal skills and leadership, as well as my college degree in the medical field to end up in a hospital. I want to focus on adolescents but come in contact with a variety of ages, ethnicities, and personalities. So there it is, my next ten years, and now comes the most important part that was drilled into my brain at the end of every bedtime story—I want to live happily ever after just like my mommy and daddy!!