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Fort Drum teen heads to regional level for Boys and Girls Club competition

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FORT DRUM — A teen from post will have a chance to be named the Northeast region’s military youth of the year at a competition early next week in New York City.

Elizabeth A. Kolodgy, 18, said she was honored for a chance to compete for the title. She and her family have lived on post since 2001.

The military youth competition is the first of its kind for the Boys and Girls Club of America, which has presented a separate youth of the year award for several years.

Miss Kolodgy was named the state’s military youth of the year in May at a ceremony in Albany, an honor that came with a $1,000 scholarship.

“I was humbled that they would pick me,” she said.

If she were to win the regional award, which will be presented Tuesday, she will receive a $10,000 scholarship. The national winner, picked from five regional winners, receives a $50,000 scholarship.

Miss Kolodgy said she looked forward to talking about the challenges faced by military families and youths like her.

“I feel like when people see us as a military family, they don’t see the struggles we face; they see the benefits we get,” she said. “They don’t see the kids struggling in school, and they don’t have the role model of one of their parents.”

A graduating senior at Indian River High School, Philadelphia, Miss Kolodgy has dedicated herself to several activities on and off post.

Among her various roles are serving as a captain of the school’s indoor and outdoor track teams and as student council president.

Jody L. Foland, the school’s outdoor track coach, described her as very self-motivated and a mentor for other team members.

“She was more than a captain,” she said. “She was an extension of me.”

Miss Kolodgy participated in the 4 x 800 relay, shot put, discus and triple jump events.

On post, Miss Kolodgy has held several roles within its youth center programs, including a spot as a founding member of the Garrison Teen Council, which relays youth issues to the post’s garrison leadership.

Miss Kolodgy is the daughter of Master Sgt. John A. Kolodgy, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-10 Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, and Myong “Bo” Kolodgy. She has two siblings, Charles and Yumi.

Miss Kolodgy said her father has deployed five times in her life, every other year from 2003 to now. “It’s sad that my father has to go to war, but I know that he’s there for a reason and to protect the citizens of the United States,” she said. “The struggles I face are not as important as the work as my father does.”

Miss Kolodgy said she will attend University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she plans to study biology and physical therapy and take part in the Air Force ROTC program.

She said her family’s legacy of military aviation service was an inspiration for her, and she wanted to follow in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps.

“Even though I’m too short to be a pilot, I want to be a part of the team and serve my country,” she said.

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