Prince George County Public Schools Celebrates Military Students, Families During April's Month of the Military Child

April 12, 2024
Prince George County Public Schools proudly joins school divisions and communities across the United States in celebrating the Month of the Military Child throughout the month of April, highlighting the military-connected students and families whose presence enriches the fabric of our school community.
The origins of the Month of the Military Child date back to the mid-1980s when former U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger selected April as the month when military children and families would be honored for their daily sacrifices and the challenges they overcame. Throughout their lives, these families face the prospect of deployments, extended separations from loved ones, and frequent moves to different locales of the world. These unique experiences military-connected students have during their lives serve to enrich their classmates, teachers, and schools as they recount their journeys across America or abroad internationally.
The latest Demographics Profile of the Military Community report, published by the U.S. Department of Defense, reveals:
  • Out of the 2 million total U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) force, over 766,000 service members are raising children.
  • Of the over 1.5 million military children calculated in the latest federal report, the vast majority, approximately 1.4 million, are aged 0 to 18 years old.
  • Additionally, more than two-thirds of the DoD force’s military children are aged 11 or younger.
The report also shows that almost 70 percent of these children are aged between 0 to 11 years old, and 57% range from 6 to 18 years old, making them primarily school-going children who receive their education from public schools in their locality. These findings are backed by data from the U.S. Department of Education, which reveals that more than 80 percent of military-connected children attend public schools. The Virginia Department of Education also reports that over 77,000 military-connected students attend public schools and reside in Virginia.
Military Welcomes Kids to SchoolService members from Fort Gregg-Adams welcome L.L. Beazley Elementary School students for their first day of school in August 2023. The base is a valued partner of PGCPS as we celebrate Month of the Military Child. (PGCPS Photo)
Locally, PGCPS proudly supports the needs of military-connected students and their families of service members stationed at Fort Gregg-Adams, where approximately 70,000 soldiers have trained annually, according to the U.S. Army's data. During the 2023-24 School Year, approximately 27 percent of the district’s average daily membership of 6,269 students are military-connected students, accounting for 1,739 students.
The school division and Fort Gregg-Adams consistently partner to collaborate and further strengthen its relationship through engaging dialogue between the base's leadership and Prince George County Public Schools. Division Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff is a member of Fort Lee's Civilian Military Council (CMC), a quarterly forum that brings together leaders and decision-makers from surrounding communities to exchange information and foster dialogue. 
Additionally, representatives from Fort Gregg-Adams are invited to participate in division and community events, with the same holding true for the PGCPS community. During the division’s first pre-Labor Day start in August of 2023, service members welcomed students back to school at L.L. Beazley Elementary School with hugs and high-fives, while also providing assistance with traffic management and other support to the school’s staff.
Maintaining their own special connection to the military installation, Prince George High School and their award-winning chorus had the honor of performing the national anthem during Fort Gregg-Adams’ redesignation ceremony in the spring of 2023.
Fort Gregg-Adams redesignation ceremonyPrince George High School's award winning chorus, led by director Storm Burks, performs the national anthem during Fort Gregg-Adams' historic redesignation ceremony in 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Fort Gregg-Adams)
Each November, the division's schools host Veterans Day assemblies, often attended by members of America's military, as the students create unique pieces to recognize veterans across the United States and in their community. In May, J.E.J. Moore Middle School students and staff partner to host its annual Memorial Day tribute ceremony. A yearly tradition for the Moore community, they unite to honor former students and fallen U.S. Army Captain Jesse Ozbat, who died in 2012 while serving alongside fellow soldier Tobias Alexander and the group's interpreter, through musical pieces, student poetry, and a concluding ceremony where American flags are placed in the school's memorial garden in honor of Ozbat and other Prince George service members who died in service to their nation dating back to World War I.
Through these and other demonstrations of PGCPS' support of military students and families, all five of the division's elementary schools - L.L. Beazley Elementary, D.A. Harrison Elementary, Middle Road Elementary, North Elementary, and South Elementary - and recently, J.E.J. Moore Middle School in 2023, have been recognized as Virginia Purple Star Schools for their commitment to serving students and families connected to the military by the VDOE and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on the Educational Opportunity for Military Children. 
"Our district believes that every child deserves the best education possible and we're especially proud to serve the educational needs of our military-connected students and families at Fort Gregg-Adams," PGCPS Division Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said. "We're committed to ensuring that our military students have all the support they need to succeed, and that's at the heart of our mission to engage, encourage, and inspire every child, every day. We're grateful for the strong relationship we have with Fort Gregg-Adams' leadership and the opportunity to participate in their initiatives like the Civilian Military Council. This month, we're excited to celebrate Month of the Military Child, which gives our whole division the chance to show our appreciation for our military students and families and all they bring to our community."
Middle Road Elementary First Flag RaisingService members from Fort Gregg-Adams raise the American Flag outside Middle Road Elementary School during the campus' ribbon cutting and community open house celebration in 2023. (PGCPS Photo)
“The Prince George School Board proudly recognizes our military-connected students and families during April’s Month of the Military Child,” Prince George County School Board Chair Jill A. Andrews said. “Prince George County is closely connected to the military as the home of Fort Gregg-Adams, with many of those stationed at the base and their families choosing to plant roots here in our community. Our military-connected students and families bring unique lived experiences to our schools and make meaningful contributions to our entire community. We thank Fort Gregg-Adams for being a great partner to Prince George County Public Schools and supporting our district’s educational and community programs.”
Our schools will host celebrations and recognitions to celebrate military students and families within their campuses throughout the month of April, including the nationally recognized “Purple Up Day,” on April 17, 2024.
The district encourages the community to get involved with the Month of the Military Child by participating in "Purple Up! For Military Kids" Day. The community is invited to wear purple alongside PGCPS students and staff in a show of support for military students. The color purple signifies all branches of the United States military, the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force.
To learn more about the Month of the Military Child, visit the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) website at