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Since 2002, thousands of military-connected children have shared their experiences, dreams, and challenges through art.

 

MCEC's 2023 Call for the Arts was a resounding success, with entries from across the globe and every branch of service. Hundreds of military-connected kids inspired us with creative expressions of strength, bravery, pride, and community.

Our thanks go to these amazing young artists and performers for sharing their heartfelt stories and experiences. It was amazing to see the world through your eyes — we celebrate all of you, and we plan to showcase many works in addition to the official winning entries.

MCEC's next Call for the Arts will begin in early 2024. We can’t wait to see your creations!

2023 Call for the Arts Winners

First Place
Second Place
Everleigh M.
"Peace, Hope, and Military Kids"
Grade 2, Cache Intermediate School
Fort Sill, OK | Army

McKenna G.
"The Tale of Two Lives"
Grade 7, North Middle School
Great Falls, MT | Air Force - Veteran

Gabriel C.
"Worth Defending"
Grade 12, Rockbridge Academy
Naval Station Annapolis, MD | Navy
Isaac B.
“Navy V-22 Osprey”
Grade 4, Village Elementary School
North Island Naval Air Station, CA | Navy
 
Katie M.
“Heart in Hands”
Grade 7, Homeschool
Dayton, OH | Air Force
 
Reagan U.
“Until She Comes Home”
Grade 11, Flour Bluff High School
Corpus Christi, TX | Navy
   
Third Place
Artist Spotlight
Lucy M.
“Proud Coast Guard Family”
Grade 1, McGaugh Elementary
U.S. Coast Guard Station, CA | Coast Guard
 
Alyssa T.
“Insert Freedom”
Grade 8, Homeschool
Kaneohe Bay, HI | Marines
                   
Ashley W.
“Favorite Places”
Grade 10, Liberty University Online Academy (Homeschool)
Hill Park, OK | Air Force – Veteran
Annabelle C. 
“All My Favorite Things”
Grade 2, Grafenwoehr Elementary School     
Grafenwoehr, Germany | Army
               
Lucy K.
“#LifeOfAMilitaryKid”                        
Grade 7, Horace O'Bryant Middle School
Naval Air Station Key West, FL | Navy
                 
Asha A.
“Journey”
Grade 11, Pine Creek High School
Colorado Springs, CO | Space Force

 

2022 First Place Winner

Poem for Dad

He doesn't mean to make you frown
It's just time to pack up and move to another town
Just when you get used to things
He never means to make a sting
Don't bother unpacking that box
If you do, I give you props
Be careful if you get too comfortable
He doesn't mean to make you cry
He'll make it up, sing a lullaby
He'll send you flowers on your birthday
While mommy says he'll be home one day
For some, that day never comes
For me, I pray so I won't go numb

I get my poster, markers bright
While "welcome home," he'll soon be in my sight
I march to the airport in my camo dress
As he comes off the plane there goes my stress
I can see right through him
Like he can see through me
Although he's happy
He's got PTSD
He hugs me tight and never lets go
I say "I love you, Daddy"
He replies "Oh how you've grown"
He hands me a bear with a message inside
I hug it and cry as time passes by
His voice echoes within as I hug its furry brown skin
He knew that I'd love this, he just had to within!
As I think back to what daddy told me,
("Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty")
I get scared when he's out at sea
"USCG" I chant all day
I sway and rock all just for play

As time goes on I know it's coming soon
That dreaded phone call, "Pack your things, we're heading out this afternoon."
Daddy leaves in a hurry, hugs me oh so tight
I know what he's doing, going out to just fight
I know he'll be back soon or so I thought
When that man came to my door I became distraught
He will not be forgotten, though gone too soon
There are no more tears, emotions become immune

As I lay in my bed I turn to face the side
I get up and scream then it's time to decide
I go to my closet, the bottom shelf to be precise
There is a little brown box, what's inside? Well that's a surprise
I rip it open with hopes that it's you
What do I see? There's no way that it could be true
Just the bear nothing else but had I forgotten
All I needed to do was push the little black button
I pushed his stomach and gulped hoping to remember
The sound of your voice I last heard in September
My head laid to rest, tears running down my face
I vowed to follow in your footsteps I wouldn't want to be a disgrace
I shut my eyes to get some sleep
I felt you tuck me in almost half asleep
"I love you, Daddy," I thought to myself
"I love you too, baby girl" his soft voice mewled 


Angelina F.

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