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NEWS | April 30, 2019

Assistant secretary of education views Lackland ISD's PurpleUp! Parade

By Staff Sgt. Krystal Wright 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A representative from the Department of Education attended the Lackland Independent School District’s PurpleUp! Parade, held in recognition of the Month of the Military Child, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland April 12.

“We are starting this day by celebrating some of our most important citizens and those are the sons and daughters of our military families,” said Frank T. Brogan, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the Department of Education. “April is the month of the military child and they are celebrating it is style at JBSA-Lackland.”

Brogan cheered the children during the parade and afterwards visited a class from each grade level and viewed two of Lackland ISD’s award-winning science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, programs. Accompanying him was Lt. Col. Steven Lamb, 502nd Installation Support Group vice commander.

“What we are doing is not only celebrating the children of military families, we are also recognizing some of the hurdles of being a military child,” Brogan said. “It could be the deployments of one or both parents, or it could be the fact that a number of these students have been to multiple schools in a very short period of time. How do you deal with that?

“As a lifetime educator I can tell you just some movement in a child’s education can be disruptive not only to the child, but to the families in general,” he continued. “I met one young man today who is a senior and has moved 13 times during his educational process. That can be extraordinarily disruptive, but the military has done a marvelous job over the years helping families. One of the things I hear regularly from military families is that it is a challenge, but if handled appropriately, it can also give those sons and daughters an inherent discipline and independence that other children sometimes don’t have.”

When Brogan went to the different classrooms, he took the time to talk to the children, asking them questions such as where have they lived before and how long they attended Lackland ISD. He even read the book, “Hero Dad,” by Melinda Hardin.

“I got to visit both the elementary school and the junior/senior high school and see wonderful young people who are the product of amazing military families,” Brogan said.

Afterwards visiting the classrooms, Brogan visited Virginia Allred Stacey Junior/Senior High School’s Bots in Blue and CyberPatriot teams where he drove a robot and learned about the technologies the students are utilizing. The Bots in Blue is a FIRST Tech Challenge team, which designs, builds, and programs robots to compete head-to-head against other teams on a special playing field. The CyberPatriots is a national youth cyber education program that the Air Force Association created to promote cybersecurity and other STEM careers.