VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia Beach 17-year-old was named the 2018 Coast Guard Military Child of the Year.
Roark Corson, a senior at Ocean Lakes High School, won the award for the variety of activities and social programs that the young man takes part in throughout his community.
Corson has balanced community service, academics and sports, with notable achievements in each of these areas, since moving to Hampton Roads.
The young man has done this in a variety of ways, one of which is using his gift of public speaking to educate others about mental illness in youth, after losing two friends to suicide in a three-year span.
He was awarded the 2018 Helen P. Shropshire Human Rights Youth Award by the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission for his mental health advocacy work.
As the son of Capt. Caleb Corson and Dr. Tyler Corson, the teen has moved seven times because of the military, and yet has made an impact wherever he has moved.
Before coming to Virginia Beach, Corson was active in Boy Scouts, and completed his Eagle Scout project in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, building a butterfly garden in the courtyard of an inner-city K-12 school in Charleston, South Carolina.
When living in Arlington, Virginia, Corson collected more than 500 pieces of winter clothing (coats, boots, blankets, etc.) from his schoolmates and neighbors to donate to the homeless.
While the young man may have a big heart, his intellect is something to admire as well.
In his junior year, Corson won first place in the Environmental Science category in the regional science fair. For this, he researched, designed, performed, and presented an experiment indicating that steroids excreted on cattle farms can potentially seep into the water table, infiltrating drinking water sources and threatening aquatic life. Concerned about the environmental impact of these chemicals, he wrote a scientific article about the experiment which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, according to Operation Homefront.
Corson has a weighted GPA of 4.512 and is an AP Scholar with Distinction. He is a National Merit Scholarship finalist and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.
He is also a member of his high school crew team. The two-year varsity letterman was also elected captain his senior year.