To say Adriel Moran is driven is not giving him due credit.
The O’Fallon Township High School senior has his sights set firmly on West Point, although the Naval or Air Force academies would also be acceptable, as would his “civilian” choice — Purdue University. If not the military, then his career choice is chemical engineer.
His resume, as submitted in his application to the Military Child of the Year, is three pages long. The list of places he’s been as a military child is just as long, with stamps from 23 countries on his passport. It’s the second time he’s been a semifinalist for the Military Child of the Year award sponsored by Operation Homefront, with a prize of $10,000 and a laptop. Winners will be announced for each military branch in March.
“I feel like a lot of us had to grow up fast,” he said of other military children when their parents were deployed. “Not letting emotions get a hold of me.”
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He said his dad, Robert, told him just before he deployed that Adriel needed to be the man of the house while he was deployed. When the Navy called to say Robert had been in an ambush and provided no further details, Adriel took his father’s words to heart. His father was later awarded a Purple Heart.
He remembers his mom in tears in the middle of the night and trying hard to concentrate at school and at swim practice.
Adriel got a more personal glimpse into military life when he attended a weeklong Summer Leadership Experience at West Point Academy.
“It was one of the best weeks of my life,” he said. “Everyone had the same mindset — determined.”
He said the group was “filled with leaders not really in command” and instead they all led by example. They spent their days exercising, taking classes and talking one-on-one with West Point cadets. Adriel has stayed in touch with several members of his SLE group, including Sgt. Parsons. (“He didn’t tell us his first name.”)
The cadet wrote a report on Adriel at the end of the week, essentially saying that he would be comfortable and safe serving next to Adriel. That’s something he did not write about others, Adriel said.
“They say going to SLE doesn’t make a difference, but I think it does,” Adriel said. “I think I’m a pretty good prospect at this point.”
Q: What colleges have you applied to?
A: “Nominated to West Point, and the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. I’m accepted at Purdue University.”
Q: What events do you swim in?
A: “The 50 and 100 freestyle (for O’Fallon Township High School).”
Q: What do you want to do in the military?
A: “It’s been a calling. I want a career in special forces. When I researched it, that’s when I moved from Navy to Army.”
Q: Have you asked your dad about that ambush, given your military job preferences?
A: “I don’t want him to have to rethink of it.”
Q: How many times have you moved?
A: “I’ve been in 11 schools. More in the six range is more common (for military children).”
Q: How fast can you move?
A: “A week to pack.”
Q: How many countries have you visited?
A: “23. When we lived in Germany, we basically went to a different country every weekend. We vacationed in Egypt, left a week or two before the civil war.”
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
A: “Croatia. It has beautiful beaches. It’s a mix of Florida with the beaches, and amazing food, and the people, the hospitality.”
About Adriel Moran
- Age: 17
- School: Senior at O’Fallon Township High School
- GPA: 3.821
- Scholarship offers: From the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTCs
- Honors: Finalist for Military Child of the Year in 2013 and 2016
- Community Service: Hope for Heroes, State of Washington Senate Page, Habitat for Humanity
- Favorite foods: lumpia (a Philippine eggroll) and adobo (Philippine cuisine flavoring), sushi, pho (noodle soup)
- Favorite restaurant: “I prefer my mom’s cooking. Dad can make the best steaks.”
- Family: Dad, Robert; Mom, Myriam; sister, Nicole, 15