ANNA – Anna’s Alexy Schofield was named Female All-American of the Year at the United States Marine Corps’ Battles Won Academy in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, July 16. The award, presented as part of the Semper Fidelis All-American Program, included a $5,000 scholarship from Chicago-based sports and entertainment organization Intersport. Schofield also met and was given a commemorative coin by the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Glenn M. Walters.

“I was so surprised,” Schofield said at Anna High School one day after her return. “I'm just so honored that I was even considered for it, even nominated for it. So winning it is completely amazing to me.”

The prestigious award goes to one female and one male high school student who has best demonstrated achievement in academics, athletics and community leadership — as well as the Marine Corps' “fighting spirit and code of ethics.” To be eligible for the honor, one must first earn the Semper Fidelis All-American Award, presented in May to 48 male and 48 female students from across the country. With that selection, comes this all-expenses-paid trip to Washington for the four-day Battles Won Academy.

Before heading to Washington, Schofield had made the list of six finalists for Female All-American of Year, as had six males for their award. As a finalist, Schofield was featured in her own video produced by Intersport at Anna High School in May.

Schofield's stay in Washington included four nights in the Capital Hilton, blocks from the Washington Monument. Her chosen mentor for the trip was Anna High School teacher and cheer coach Kendra Tilley.

Hosting the event, July 13-17, was retired Marine First Sgt. and Silver Star recipient Verice Bennett, brother of two-time Olympic champion decathlete Ashton Eaton.

“We just got to meet a lot of people,” Schofield said. “And they all had their own battles and they talked to us about their battles. Then a lot of it was meeting all the other All-Americans and talking to them about what they went through in their struggles.”

Attendees heard speakers from the worlds of sports, business and public service who shared leadership lessons and advice for overcoming life's struggles. Soccer star Carli Lloyd, a two-time FIFA National Player of the Year, was there as was three-time world-champion wrestler Adeline Gray.

Schofield said she was especially impressed by a girl there who had been a great basketball player, but was paralyzed on one side when broken-nose surgery damaged a nerve.

“What was cool about her was, through physical therapy she taught herself how to stand and she also taught herself how to play golf,” Schofield said. “Now she's going to college to be a golfer and she still is paralyzed on the right side of her body. There were so many great people there.”

The academy also included a visit to Marine Corps Base Quantico, a National Mall scavenger hunt, a community service project, dinner with Cal Ripken Jr., an Orioles-Cubs game at Camden Yards and a trip to Under Armor Headquarters. At Quantico, attendees received a bit of mixed martial arts training and learned defensive skills. At Under Armor's Baltimore headquarters they met with company executives and competed in a Fit Olympics. The group's community service project was clearing an overgrown lot for a new football field for a school that didn't have one.

Schofield is the daughter of Kevin and Becky Schofield.

“Her dad and I were both so surprised and shocked,” Becky Schofield said. “We were thrilled beyond belief for her and so proud of her. We both started crying. It's so nice to see her hard work recognized. She's a great kid.”

Said Tilley by phone, “(The Battles Won Academy) totally exceeded my expectations' expectations. It was unreal. I knew it was going to be awesome but I didn't know to what extent. It was truly a once in a lifetime event.”

Tilley said at first she was shocked when Schofield's name was called as the winner.

“Then I was shaking and crying,” she said. “I was a really big dork. I knew she did well and she was like a true rock star that week, but they all were. They were all really great kids.”

Tilley said she was most impressed watching Schofield demonstrate leadership over the course of their stay, particularly during the Fit Olympics and the scavenger hunt.

Schofield is active in cheer, soccer, cross country, Spanish Club, National Honor Society and the Student Government Association. Last year, she finished second in her class academically and was junior class president. This year, she'll be study body president. Schofield is also active in Rotary Youth Leadership. She hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and study Oceanic Engineering.

“I would sum up the experience as life-changing,” Schofield said of the Battles Won Academy. “I learned so much and I met so many people who were completely outstanding and amazing at everything they did. And I learned so much about myself and was really shown the perspective about how difficult things could be and how important it is to never give up on yourself — and to keep working. It really helps me with my whole outlook on life.”