Altus Public Schools earn ‘Purple Star’ officially military friendly

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Altus Public Schools have just earned their “Purple Star,” meaning they are officially recognized as a military-friendly school district, and with the Altus Air Force Base being so close by, this holds a lot of weight.

“There is a lot of change in a military student’s life. Here in Altus, we’re a training base, and a lot of times our students are moving every two years. So they are coming to us from another school that might be very different. Usually, it is a larger city than what we have here, so just that adjustment to change they are so resilient, our military students are so resilient,” Amanda Davis the military liaison at Altus Public Schools.

Judith Mott, the school liaison program manager for Altus Air Force Base, said military children can move 6 to 9 times before they even turn 18, so knowing a school district has a purple star can be a comfort to them.

“If someone comes and they miss volleyball tryouts, can they have their own tryout and make the team? Yes, they have that opportunity,” Mott said.

The opportunity helped Calista Pavelshak make the “Pom Squad” when her family moved her freshman year.

“That was something I always wanted to do in my high school career, and I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to because tryouts had already happened. So, it made me well really happy and really welcomed when I was able to do it,” Pavelshak said.

Senior Haley Sims moved to Altus after living in Germany and traveled to over 15 countries before age 15. She said it was a significant transition from Germany to Altus and she worried about being able to fit in.

“Obviously I’m going to wonder if they’re going to be military-accepting because we’re labeled as military brats a lot of the time. So I was excluded in a lot of situations, but here I wasn’t excluded because I am military. And I think with this purple star recognition, many military students that move here or are already here will feel a lot more accepted,” Sims said.

“I think a purple star provides peace of mind. And for families that are moving every two to three or four years, if we can give them that peace of mind that can speak words. So, the districts who want to take this on and become a purple star district are saying, ‘hey we see you, we love you and we want to take care of you,’” Mott said.