Harrison Elementary 'My Military Life' Parent Presentations Helps Students Connect with Local Service Members

David A. Harrison Elementary School military parents take part in the school’s ‘My Military Life’ event Thursday. The event allowed students to learn about the lives of military families who are part of their community. (PGCPS photo)

PRINCE GEORGE, Va. (November 17, 2022) - On Thursday, November 17, 2022, David A. Harrison Elementary School hosted their "My Military Life" parent presentations as part of the school's recognition of November's Month of the Military Family. This event allowed Harrison Elementary students to learn more about America's armed forces from Harrison Elementary parents who are currently serving.

Approximately a dozen Harrison Elementary parents actively serving in the military volunteered for the day-long event born through the collaborative efforts of school principal Chris Scruggs and Julie Stoke, the school's military family life counselor. After enjoying refreshments in the waiting area, each volunteer was escorted to classrooms where they could share their stories, discuss their military lives, and answer plenty of student questions.

Also known as Military Family Appreciation Month, the month-long recognition was established in 1993 by the Armed Services YMCA, with the U.S. Government recognizing it every year since. As shared by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), the celebration focuses on honoring the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation's service members. Often, military members face separation from their families and adjusting to new living situations and communities. Our schools and community are essential in supporting military students and their families during their time with us.

Throughout the day, students actively engaged with the military parents, asking questions and learning about the volunteer speaker's work and background. During the 15-minute sessions, the students discovered some families had traveled across America and the world before becoming part of the Harrison Elementary family.

The timing of Harrison's event and the Month of the Military Family perfectly aligned with the themes of November - family celebrations. With Thanksgiving only days away, the "My Military Life" parent presentations also allowed the school's students and staff to thank service members and their families for their commitment, celebrate their successes, and honor their sacrifices.

The students and staff at Harrison Elementary continuously seek ways to recognize and support its military-connected community. The campus also hosts events during April's Month of the Military Child, encouraging their community to wear purple to support America's armed forces, as the color represents all branches of the U.S. Military. 

Additionally, in April of this year, the school hosted VDOE Military Family and Student Specialist Daniel Dunham for a visit, where he read "The Brand New Kid" to a classroom of Harrison students. The story, by longtime television personality and journalist Katie Couric, inspires students to be welcoming and the need to give new people a chance. 

As the division shared earlier this month, David A. Harrison Elementary is one of the district's five elementary schools recognized as a Distinguished Purple Star School. The honor was awarded by The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and The Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (Virginia Council) for each school's commitment to supporting military-connected students and families on their campuses. 

This year, L.L. Beazley Elementary, North Elementary, and South Elementary have been recognized as Distinguished Purple Star Schools, joining Harrison Elementary and William A. Walton Elementary, who received their awards in 2020.

Visit the division's website to learn more about Prince George County Public Schools and military families.

About Prince George County Public Schools

Located in Southside Virginia within the Virginia Department of Education's Region 1, Prince George County Public Schools is focused on preparing our students to navigate an ever-changing world by engaging, encouraging, and inspiring every child throughout their educational journey. The District supports the academic and socio-emotional needs of over 6,000 enrolled students across PGCPS' nine campuses and is home to National Blue Ribbon and Virginia Purple Star award-winning schools. For more information, visit http://www.pgs.k12.va.us.