GALLIPOLIS — South Gallia Middle-High School was recently recognized as a 2018 Purple Star designee by the Ohio Department of Education for its “outstanding commitment to serving military students and families.”
South Gallia received a letter from ODE in early December 2018 saying that the award was valid for two years before needing to be reconsidered again for the honor.
The program started last year, said South Gallia Principal Bray Shamblin.
“It’s a way of designating schools that are helping, stepping up and giving back in terms to those who have served or those who are currently serving, and assisting their families,” said Shamblin. “To our knowledge, other than Nelsonville-York City Schools, we’re the only ones in southeastern Ohio that have this designation. So it’s a big deal for us.”
Applicants go through four rounds of judging before being picked as a designee.
“Let’s say for example we have a new recruiter in town and is working with local schools,” said Shamblin. “There’s various supports online and they are also able to touch base here because we have a Purple star liaison, Morgan Saunders, who is one of our new teachers here and is trained to be able to help with military families and reaching out to check in with families. We know being part of a military family, they can be very transient. It’s to help safeguard those families and reach out and help those families when they move in.”
“When we go back and look, we have to show documentation of what we do as a school,” said Shamblin. “Our Veterans Day Assembly attests in honoring veterans as well as a community outreach in terms of working with VFW (4464) when we did our fish fry. It’s been neat.”
“This has helped to strengthen our relationships with those veterans,” said the principal. “We’ve had them come in to talk about Vietnam, military artillery and various presentations and first hand accounts of those veterans and their experiences. It’s been beneficial, not only to our high school students, but also our middle school.”
Shamblin said he felt the school’s Purple Star Committee and its students were excited to continue seeing what more could be done in the future for veterans, while also reflecting on past progress.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.