ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Wylie High School has been designated a Purple Star Campus, meaning they have made accommodations and support military students.
While many students can go into high school with friendships they have already built, this isn’t an option for everyone, especially students who are in military families and have to move around.
“We know what it feels like to be left out. We know what it feels like to have to make new friends,” said military student Arianna Hodges, a freshman at Wylie High School.
While Hodges has been with the district for more than three years, she has moved all over the world.
“Well, I was born in El Paso, Texas, and then we moved to Pheonix, Arizona, and then we moved to Okinawa, Japan, and we lived there for about seven years, and then we got stationed here about four years ago,” Hodges explained.
Because her dad is in the military, Arianna has been able to meet a lot of people while moving, but it has been hard for her to develop friendships.
“Sometimes, people grew up together, and they just roll with their people,” Hodges shared.
However, when she moved to Wylie, she was met with the ‘Student-2-Student’ program, which helps military students get involved. Student-2-Student sponsor and teacher at Wylie High School, Kendall Harrison, shared how this program works.
“They really do help try to get new students, particularly military students, plugged in,” said Harrison. “[The students] take them on tours, show them around, help them find their way.”
Harrison shared that more and more military kids are coming to Wylie as the district grows. In fact, a press release sent to KTAB/KRBC shows that about 700 Wylie ISD students are military-connected.
“If you ever get to know them and sit down and hear their story of how being a military has impacted them, it’s very, very unique,” said Harrison.
Because of these efforts, Governor Greg Abbott has announced that Wylie High School is rewarded with the Purple Star Campus Designation.
“It’s definitely an honor, and I’m very appreciative of everything Wylie ISD does to help students and help military students,” said Harrison.
This award shows how much this school has helped people like Arianna.
“If I moved now, I would be a lot more devastated than if I moved when I was a kid because I’ve made such stronger connections,” Hodges added.
She has now joined the Student-2-Student program because she wants to return the favor.
“That’s my main goal, that no one ever feels alone, because when you feel alone, that like makes your whole outlook on life feel worse,” Hodges explained.
Wylie High is the only school in the region to receive this designation this year, but several AISD schools earned this designation last school year. To maintain this designation, they must renew their status in April.