A photo collage of the events at Alvey and Porter

April is the Month of the Military Child, and many PWCS schools are celebrating and honoring the courage and tenacity demonstrated by our military-connected students. At Alvey Elementary School, military-connected students and families marched through the halls to the sound of cheers from their fellow students.

Melissa Hedrick, parent liaison, and Janet Maresh, school counselor, knew they wanted to honor their military families. As military-connected women themselves, they understand the challenges these students face firsthand.

“We felt this was important because we wanted to share something with our families. We just wanted to collaborate and show how important Month of the Military Child is to our community,” shared Hedrick. "It is just a very heartfelt and meaningful experience that we wanted to extend to our school.”

Together, Hedrick and Maresh put together a breakfast and parade to honor their military-connected students. More than 85 families had the opportunity to connect with school staff and each other while they ate, before lining up by military branch to walk through the halls in front of all the students.

"It’s special to me because my dad was in the Air Force for 20 years, and I thought it was really special for them to honor me and my family,” reflected Madison, a third-grade student at Alvey.

The parade was led by the Quantico Marine Corps Band and veterans from the American Legion Post 1799 marched with them. Kimberly Gudinas, associate superintendent for western elementary schools, Jennifer T. Wall, School Board representative for the Gainesville District, and Sarah Ford, executive director of the Willing Warrior Retreat were also in attendance to honor Alvey’s military-connected students.

At Porter Traditional School, Kaitlyn Engelmeier-Foor, principal, Beverly Johnson, parent liaison, and the school counseling team planned several events in support of military students and their families. The morning kicked off with a “Pancakes with our Patriots” breakfast, followed by a special walk through the school hallways where students and staff cheered in support of those Porter Traditional students and families who are military-connected. 

"It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to recognize our Porter military families and to specifically honor the resilience and perseverance that our Porter military students exhibit as part of their daily lives,” shared Engelmeier-Foor.

Porter Traditional School is one of 39  PWCS Distinguished Purple Star Schools. The Virginia Department of Education's Military Student Support Process Action Team awards this designation to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation's military. Alvey Elementary is working on earning this designation through their continued efforts to support their military-connected families.