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Local student selected for Marines’ summer program

Emili Currey holding her selection certificate that was presented to her by United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Sterling Blakely. | Brittni Johnson,
IDAHO FALLS — Military service runs four generations deep on both sides of sophomore Emili Currey’s family. Serving the United States of America is a lifestyle Currey’s grown up with, and a family tradition she hopes to carry on.
Currey’s parents both served in the Air Force, which caused the family to travel often. She was born in England, but about five years ago, her family moved to Idaho Falls. She attends Skyline High School, where she’s on the track team, newspaper staff and drama club. She has spent years doing competitive cheerleading as well. Despite her busy schedule, she made time to participate in the Marine Corps Physical Training last summer. The training consisted of waking up bright and early to complete rigorous workouts.
“I know I’ve always wanted to be in the military, but I just didn’t know what branch,” Currey said.
She got interested in the Marines. One day at school, United States Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Sterling Blakely was running a booth and educating people about the Marine Corps. Currey talked with him, and he told her about the week-long Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy. It’s offered to high school sophomores and juniors, and he encouraged her to apply.
“We look for the people that are going to be exemplifying those same honor, courage and commitment, like ourselves. (People who are) very involved in athletics, inside their school and are giving back to their community too,” Blakely said. “It’s hard being able to find sometimes those people that are right and ready for it, but when you do, it’s awesome to be able to recognize them.”

United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Sterling Blakely handing Emili Currey her selection certificate at Skyline High School. | Brittni Johnson,
Applicants submit recommendation letters and write a 500-word essay about how they plan to make a difference if given the opportunity to attend the program.
On Friday, Blakely presented Currey with a selection certificate and announced that she is one of about 120 people in the country who were selected to the academy. It’s held on the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virgina. The program covers everything from airfare to food costs.
“Over the course of a week, she’ll be introduced to Marine Corps mission, core values, military culture and leadership principles. (Currey will be) challenged to step outside of our comfort zone and to strengthen her confidence and leadership skills,” Blakely said. “She will be exposed to the teachings and lessons of many Marine Corps leaders, continual physical training and scenario-based reaction courses. She’ll graduate with the skills and tools to become a great leader in her community, family and nation.”
Her parents, James and Andy Currey, expressed how proud they are of their daughter. Andy said she’s been talking about being in the military since she was little.
“Usually when she wants to do something, she makes it happen,” James said.
Emili is looking forward to meeting more Marines while chasing down her military service dream when she attendees the academy.
“I love America. Honestly, giving that time for the country, I feel like it’s a good thing,” Currey said. “If you have a sense of nationalism, you feel the need to give your country whatever you can.”
The program begins June 15.

Emili Currey with her parents, James and Andy Currey. | Brittni Johnson,

United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Sterling Blakely with Emili Currey. | Brittni Johnson,

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