On Thursday, May 11th, Logan County High School was presented with the Purple Star Award by Brig. Gen. Steve Bullard (Air National Guard and Air Force, Retired), during a recent JROTC assembly.
Bullard, former Chief of Staff for the Kentucky Air National Guard, is currently the Head of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs under Gov. Andy Beshear. He explained, “A good friend of mine started the Purple Star program in Ohio in 2017, and it was strictly an Ohio program until 2020. It slowly expanded to other Ohio schools in those three years.
“In 2020 the Department of Defense said, ‘This is a great program, we ought to promote it nationwide.’ So, they picked it up to promote through the Defense State Liaison Office,” shared Bullard. Kentucky picked up the program in 2020, which is now in 43 states.
After speaking with the governor about the program, Bullard was given the go-ahead. “We created the Purple Star Advisory Board and got a partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education. We now have 42 schools in Kentucky that are Purple Star schools.”
The Purple Star Award is a state-sponsored recognition for individual schools that are dedicated and committed to their military-connected students and families. The award designation lets military parents — Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves, or Veterans — know the school is equipped to help their child gain educational, social, and emotional skills necessary to be college, workforce, and life-ready.
Schools must complete four requirements to receive the Purple Star Award designation 1) Designate a Purple Star Liaison who works in the building, 2) Attend Purple Star Liaison orientation training, 3) Host one annual military recognition event, and 4) Dedicate a military-family resource page on their school’s website with the liaison’s contact information, Purple Star logo, and local military family resources. Schools must reapply every two years to maintain the designation.
“The program is a way to celebrate military children and families who are not just around military installations,” shared Bullard. He added, “The National Guard and Reserve are throughout the state, as are recruiters. Plus, more people than you realize are military connected.” According to Bullard, a recent survey identified 40,000 military-connected youth in Kentucky schools in grades 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12.
“It is such an honor to receive this award for LCHS,” Jama Madison, LCHS Youth Resource Director said. She continued, “I think when I applied for the Purple Star Award there were only seven counties in Kentucky that had been awarded the Purple Star designation.
“I went to my principal and told him I wanted to apply for this award. I wanted our school to be the next school (county) to be turned purple on the map and to be recognized as a Purple Star School!” said Madison, who added, “I am excited about going forward and providing more services to our military families.”
Madison explained, “We also recognize students that are going into any branch of service at graduation. I hope to be able to provide some specific programs for military students in the upcoming school year.”
In a video released earlier this year, Gov. Beshear said, “On behalf of the citizens of Kentucky, the First Lady and I are proud to help introduce and support Kentucky’s new Purple Star Award program.” He continued, “Purple Star works with Kentucky schools to strengthen the resilience of our military-connected youth.”
“We have numerous families at LCHS that have military connections,” said LCHS principal Caycee Spears. “And we are fortunate to be part of a tremendous community that supports and promotes all children gaining the educational and social-emotional skills that will prepare them for life after high school,” he added.
LCHS JROTC leader Col. Mike Triplett said, “This is going to be a great thing for our corps because we like to do a lot of stuff in the community. ‘Make them better citizens’ is our motto, and to make them better citizens, we’ve got to get them into our community and do more charity work.”
Triplett added, “They are going to be able to relate to their peers and their groups. It’s another thing that will help develop their communication and leadership skills.”
“We have a wonderful JROTC program and Col. Triplett and SM Russell do an amazing job with the cadets, going above and beyond to enhance student’s learning in the program. I can’t say enough good things about our JROTC program,” said Madison.
Also on hand during the presentation was Heather McCarty, of Owensboro, Regional Program Manager for FRYSC, and Finley Baird, District contact for Logan County FRYSC.
There is a link on the high school’s website to find resources for any military families that may need them.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.