Barnesville Elementary, Middle, and High schools are among 263 Ohio schools getting the Purple Star Award this year.

They have received awards ever since the program’s inception in 2018.

“This is a renewal of the award, and all three of the schools in the district are getting it,” noted Clint Abbott, elementary school principal.

The award recognizes a school’s commitment to serving and supporting students and families connected to the U.S. armed forces and the Ohio National Guard.

Each of the three Barnesville schools has its own liaison for the military families.

At the elementary school, the liaison is School Secretary Jennifer Wise, who is familiar with the challenges that military families face.

Her husband, Jeff, just retired from a career with the U.S. Army, and her son, Ethan, just graduated from basic training.

“Families of military personnel have their own stressors that civilian families don’t know about,” she said. 

Principal Abbott said the school has a website with news for military families, with important information including grants and scholarships that are available.

He said they have only five to ten military families in each building, but because Barnesville is not near a military base, those families don’t have easy access to military support services.

He said their Veterans Day events take an entire week, with a celebration that includes hundreds of local veterans.

“These schools are embracing our military-connected students and their families, providing them with support and resources to meet their families’ unique needs,” said Gov. Mike DeWine in a news release.