Local student recognized for leadership, volunteer work, commitment to being in military community

Sophie Flay Image
Monday, April 8, 2024
Murrieta student named Military Child of the Year
Murrieta teen Isabella Arrieta was recognized with the Military Child of the Year award for her leadership and commitment to the military community.

MURRIETA, Calif. (KABC) -- Out of 700 nominations nationwide, Murrieta student Isabella Arrieta was chosen as a recipient for the Military Child of the Year award.

"I honestly don't think that I would be the person I am today had I not been a military kid," Isabella said.

The seven recipients represent the armed forces branch in which a parent either serves or has served. Seventeen-year-old Isabella's father served in the Marine Corps for 20 years.

"I've been in gunnery's for about five years. Actually, when she was born, we were stationed in Newburgh, New York. She was born at West Point. and we got orders to Camp Pendleton, and we've been here since," said Isabella's father, Carlos.

The nonprofit handing out the awards, Operation Homefront, works to build strong, stable military families so that they can thrive in communities they've worked hard to protect.

"Our military families face many difficult situations, deployments, frequent moves, and children are often forced to be resilient," said Jenny Valderas.

Isabella says while her father was a recruiter, he had to work long hours far away home.

"We'd barely see him, and so I think from there you have to build a sort of independence," said Isabella. "And i think that's a value and a strength that you build from being in the military and being a military kid."

The Military Child of the Year award goes to students making an impact in their communities.

"Isabella devoted over 800 hours to clubs, sports and her volunteer work," said Valderas.

Isabella certainly has one proud papa. "This kid stays up to 2 o'clock in the morning doing homework. This kid is super driven to whatever she wants. She has an idea and she just runs with it."

The award also comes with a $10,000 grant, which Isabella says she'll put toward pursing higher education.

"I think anyone is capable of winning it," said Isabella. "It's really just a matter of sticking to what you're passionate about and doing as much as you possibly can with it."