So-called military “brats” learn how to make friends quickly because they never know when they once again might have to say their goodbyes, move to a new town and enroll in a new school. They must carry on with growing up while their active-duty service-member parent or parents are away, focused on protecting the nation’s interests. Military children are taught early on to be self-sufficient. During April, the Month of the Military Child, these kids’ resiliency and sacrifices are recognized.
Liberty County High School hosted close to 100 military dependent students and their parents Thursday during an appreciation breakfast.
“There are over 3,000 military children in Liberty County schools,” military liaison Tabeter Moore said. “These kids serve, too. You don’t pick what career your parents have.”
Moore was pleased at the number of parents who attended the breakfast. She said part of her job is to help military children adjust when they move to Liberty County and attend one of the system’s 13 schools.
Military veterans representing organizations like the American Legion also showed at the event, socializing with faculty, parents and students.
LCHS English teacher Twonzetta Samuel coordinated the breakfast, and a poetry contest in celebration of Month of the Military Child. Seven of the students’ poems ran in Wednesday’s Courier. Students wrote about what it means to be the child of a service member. Two of the poets, freshmen and ROTC cadets Alshonti Robertson-Richardson and Coyriana White, read their poems during the breakfast. Robertson-Richardson’s poem was titled “The Deployment,” and White’s poem was “The Longest Year.”
White said she moved to the area two years ago. Robertson-Richardson said she just moved to Liberty County this year. Both plan on following in their parents’ footsteps and join the military when they finish school.
White said she’d like to stay at LCHS long enough to graduate.
“I’ve made a lot of friends,” she said. “Once I move, I know it will be harder to make new friends.”
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Munden and his son, senior Mark Turner-Munden, attended the appreciation breakfast.
Munden said the event was a great way to bring families, the school and the community-at-large together. He said LCHS was the ninth school his son has attended.
“I’ve been to both Bradwell (Institute) and Liberty,” Turner-Munden said.
Lt. Col. Jay Chandler with the 385th MP Battalion at Fort Stewart said he was a Navy brat growing up. Chandler has three children, two of whom attend Bryan County schools. Therefore, he understands the challenges military dependents face.
“You guys are strong and we need you to be,” Chandler said.
He explained active-duty members must be able to focus on the military mission without worrying about their families’ welfare back home. The Army goes to great lengths to establish Family Readiness Support Groups, he said, so that spouses and dependents have a solid support network while the military member is away.
“We appreciate all the hardships you go through,” Chandler said.
For more information, go to monthofthemilitarychild.com.