Yokota AFB, Japan | September 6, 2019
A member of Yokota High School’s 2019 graduating class was among the national finalists to vie for the title of Boys and Girls Clubs of America Military Youth of the Year.
Isabella Mollison emerged as one of six teens from military installations worldwide to compete for the National Military Youth of the Year honor. The program is conducted annually to recognize outstanding teens served by BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide.
A longtime DoDEA student, Isabella, or “Bella” as she is commonly known, began her DoDEA experience in 2006 when she attended kindergarten at Mendel Elementary School on Yokota Air Base. After moving seven times, she graduated in June with a DoDEA Honors Diploma from Yokota High School. During her time in the Military Youth of the Year program, she pointed to her experiences in DoDEA as a major factor in the success she has achieved up to this point.
“My school age experiences definitely would not have been as rich and robust if I had never attended DoDEA schools,” she said. “In my exposure to so many different school districts, I can say with complete confidence that these schools offer some of the most kind, empathetic, and patient educators.”
Bella has always had a passion for success. Her work ethic and vision to learn about policy and law at the national and international level led to her achieve the AP Scholar with Honor Award. She made a six-year commitment to the Civil Air Patrol leading where she was promoted through the ranks up to Lt. Colonel.
Her community involvement included planning and hosting the Yokota Keystone Club for military youth. Some of her hobbies include diving, cross country, and softball throughout her high school career. Some of her additional accomplishments include Senate Foreign Relations Committee Honorable Mention, Harvard Model Congress, Asia in Singapore, and World Language Declamation, earning first place in Spanish Dialogue and third place in French Monologue.
As a Military Youth of the Year, regional winner, Mollison joined the other five regional winners in sharing $45K in scholarship money. The National Military Youth of the Year winner will receive an additional $20K in scholarships. The six teens were also invited to the National Press Club for a celebration dinner and awards ceremony 15 Aug. where the final winner of the National Military Youth of the Year was announced.
The eventual winner of the 2019 Military Youth of the Year was Dasia Bandy, a student who graduated from a DoDEA partnership grant school in Norfolk, Va. Although Bella didn’t win the title, she feels the experience has left a lasting impression on her, and it will have a positive impact on her future growth and development.
“The Military Youth of the Year program teaches you how to become an individual with your own passions and your own successes, and how to learn from your own failures, and become a better version of yourself,” she said.
Bella is just beginning her freshman year at American University, and has aspirations to be a diplomat.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the United States that serve children of military families.