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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 10, 2024

Congratulations to our 2024 Military Child of the Year Award Winner!

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

Celebrating our Nation’s youth doesn’t happen often enough. However, on April 11, Operation Homefront will recognize the exceptional contributions of seven Military Child of the Year awardees, selected for each branch of the armed forces.  

The Coast Guard congratulates 18-year-old Charlotte Tama as this year’s winner for our service. Vice Adm. Peter Gautier will present Tama with the honor at the award’s gala. Each honoree receives $10,000, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts.  

The seven recipients will be honored for the impact their contributions have made on their military families, schools and their communities. And, they have been selected from more than 700 applicants.  

Tama’s father, Capt. Jason Tama, serves as the executive assistant to the vice commandant and works at Base National Capital Region located at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “We could not be more proud of Charlotte and the rest of the award recipients, and are thankful for everything Operation Homefront does to shine a spotlight on the remarkable service and sacrifice of our military kids,” said Capt. Tama.  

Tama is a senior at the School Without Walls in Washington, D.C, — a small public magnet high school that boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate.   

Her stand-out efforts that earned her this honor include her academic achievements, community involvement and leadership abilities. For example, during the COVID- 19 pandemic, Charlotte and her younger sister were founding members of their school’s Junior Giving Circle. The circle enabled the students’ efforts across all grade levels to give back in a time of crisis.  

Her community activism didn’t stop there. For example, Tama volunteered at So Others Might Eat (SOME) during 2022. But that wasn’t enough for Tama; during the same timeframe, she also organized a school supply drive called Everyone Home DC Backpack Drive for DC Public School students.   

Additionally, Tama serves as a Schoolhouse World peer tutor for math and physics, and in this capacity has positively impacted over 150 students in 14 different countries.  

Tama credits her philanthropic success to her desire to engage and connect with others. “Throughout the years of being a military family, we’ve learned how to involve ourselves in our communities, and we’ve learned that giving back is a really great way to get involved,” said Tama.  

Aside from the driving force of community, it is clear that many of Tama’s achievements are also the result of her own leadership, hard work, and academic talent. Throughout her high school career, Tama has been distinguished as an AP Scholar with Distinction who scored a “5” on five AP exams, she is a U.S. Presidential Scholars’ Program candidate and she received the National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation. She also received an award for academic excellence in Chemistry and in Algebra II from her school.   

Not surprisingly, her gifts extend beyond academic successes and into athletics. Tama served as Varsity Soccer Team Captain and helped lead her team to the 2023 DC Interscholastic Athletic Association City Championship, and also received the All-League Award. She also runs the 400- meter dash and 300- meter hurdles for her school track team and competes in alpine ski racing.  

In her limited free time, Tama enjoys reading books, spending time with her friends and family, and inspiring kids to pursue careers in science and technology through her work as an Explainer at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.   

After experiencing six permanent change of duty station (PCS) moves, Tama says that engaging in a variety of activities is a great way to build community:, “Getting involved will help you form connections in your new community and make a new place feel more like home.”  

Throughout all of her endeavors Tama carries forward sage advice from her father’s Coast Guard career stating that, “When facing a new situation, just dive in.”