CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Veterans Memorial High School has been given the Purple Star designation by the Texas Education Agency. This will enhance the school’s effort to accommodate military families.
“So it really means a lot to our campus that we’re really providing services and outreach with our veterans and our current student population who is military-connected,” said Scott Walker, principal of the high school.
“The designation is just icing on top of the cake, so to speak," said Joshua Auzenne, student-military connected liaison at the school. "Because we’re now able to start programs that are going to help our military-connected students and make them more acclimated to our campus.”
High school leadership had the summer to present an application to the TEA. According to the Purple Star outline, the school must have four military-related objectives. They have to have campus-based military liaison. They must create and maintain an accessible web page for the military-connected. The school will implement a campus transition program.
And the school must offer one of the following three items - a resolution showing support for military-connected students and families, participation in Military Family Month or Month of a Military child. Or it must have a partnership with the school liaison officer who can provide opportunities for active-duty members.
Principal Walker said the school has 80-90 military-connected students.
“Think about it like this," said Auzenne, an assistant principal at the school. "If you’re a student, you’re coming from a different area, coming from a different place, you’re in a new school. And what better way to be accepted through an actual program that is there to assist you.”
“We’re able to provide those additional supports, especially those that are unique to a military family," Walker said. "So, maybe where a traditional guidance counselor might not have that knowledge base of what it’s like to be a mobile military family, going to multiple schools over multiple years. We have those additional supports we can refer to and we can bring in those resources, to make sure that those students have what they need to be successful.”
The designation lasts for two school years before a school has to apply again. Walker hopes to use this first designation to develop the programs and involve other students.
“We really want to collaborate with different organizations such as student council to help provide mentoring," said Walker. "Student peer-to-peer mentoring when we have a new student. It’s one thing of the adults to help make sure that services are available, but it also really helps when they have that peer person — that person that can work with them that is of their own age and that can really mentor them. Show them around the building and kind of — that relationship is a little bit different. “
Veterans Memorial High School is one of 45 Purple Star schools in Texas. Flour Bluff Junior High was also designated with a Purple Star.