The opening celebration at MCEC’s Global Training Summit (GTS) in Washington, DC, featured the beautiful voice and acoustic guitar skills of Lucy — Call for the Arts Spotlight Winner (Middle School) — singing her original song, #Life of a Military Kid. Lucy is an eighth grader in Key West, Florida. Her song revealed the range of emotions military kids feel when they move and inspired the audience to give her a standing ovation.
Lucy’s performance followed a Call for the Arts poet, Kylee Garick, reading her poem, “My Military Suitcase.” Kylee is a grown-up military kid whose 4th grade art teacher submitted her poem years ago. Her poignant words about life in a Marine family caught the eye of Dr. Jill Biden and the White House, and the poem became the anchor for the 2023 Month of the Military Child East Wing art exhibit. Lucy and Kylee are examples of how varied military child experiences are and how universal they can be.
MCEC welcomed eight 2023 Call for the Arts winners and their families to the Summit this year. All 12 winners were feted at the Tuesday morning General Session with MG Mark Simerly announcing the winners and celebrating the role art plays in military children’s experiences. The audience was charmed by Isaac, Everleigh, and Annabelle, three elementary school winners. The winning middle schoolers, McKenna and Lucy, and the high school winners, Gabriel, Asha, and Reagan, enjoyed a warm audience reception.
The 2023 Call for the Art program partnered with Kellogg’s (now Kellanova) to enhance their Celebration of Military Child Art contest held in conjunction with DECA in commissaries around the world. This partnership not only amplified the artistic voices of military children, but also allowed MCEC to consider the Kellogg’s art contest winners for our Call for the Arts competition. Both Gabriel and Reagan had won their geographically based Kellogg’s art contest, as well as MCEC’s Call for the Arts contest.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) generously supported the artists by bringing their families to join the celebration. One father shared the event was “a life moment” for his daughter.
While the Summit marked MCEC’s 25th anniversary, it was truly a celebration of the military-connected children we serve. To view the Call for the Arts winners, visit our website here. Enjoy!