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St. Mary’s County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano presented a certificate of recognition to fifth-grader Sierra Jordan at a Board of Education meeting in Leonardtown on April 10.

Sierra, who turns 11 today, was named one of the Navy’s Top 20 finalists for this year’s Military Child of the Year Award, an annual award sponsored by Operation Homefront.

Sierra is the daughter of Navy Counselor 1st Class Josh Jordan, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, and his wife Nicole.

Military Child of the Year recognizes those children who have demonstrated themselves to be exceptional citizens while facing the unique challenges of military family life. Sierra, who has already attended seven schools in her short lifetime, definitely fits that description.

“She has always been interested in community service and helping others,” explained Sierra’s mother. “Before she was 8 years old, she’d visit nursing homes with her Girl Scout troop to sing, dance, hand out cards and just talk with the residents. She’s very compassionate.”

Sierra has also donated her time to the annual “Spirit of 1945” commemoration, where she interviewed veterans from World War II and logged their stories of actual events.

When her brother Jake, now 8, was born with a spinal defect, Sierra immediately began to question what challenges he would face and wondered what she could do for other kids. While living in San Diego, she raised more than $1,500 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the San Diego Chargers Community Foundation.

Sierra has also been a regular participant in Operation Shoebox, sending support, snacks and personal care items to troops deployed outside the U.S.

Moving to Southern Maryland last October, Sierra was voted by her classmates at Evergreen Elementary as “Student of the Month” after only three weeks attendance.

“The moment Sierra joined our class, I knew she was different,” wrote her teacher Brittany Gilroy, in her recommendation letter to the award selection committee. “With our school being in a transient area, new students come frequently and it’s sometimes difficult for the children to make friends. I’ve seen other new military students struggle with this. However, Sierra fit right into the Evergreen family. With her warm, approachable and optimistic personality, she attracted friends immediately.”

Sierra is already making plans to raise money for Make-a-Wish Foundation in this area.

“I decided I want to continue raising money for kids with life-threatening medical conditions because they use that money to grant a wish of their choosing,” Sierra said. “I signed up a bunch of girls from my neighborhood and named it ‘Operation Cupcake’. We’re going to get together and bake cupcakes to sell around our community. I am planning on giving all the money to Make-a-Wish.”

When asked what advice she would give other kids who move around a lot, she answered, “keep busy doing activities after school, try to make new friends right away and focus on school.”

Dad Josh is very proud of his daughter’s accomplishments and both parents refer to her as an “old soul in a young body”.

“We’ve been blessed,” they agreed. “We have two extremely great kids.”