GEARY COUNTY, Kan. — With April being the Month of the Military Child, Geary County Schools USD 475 wanted to truly show support and thank their military-affiliated students for the strength and sacrifices they make enduring the lifestyle in which they do.
Over half of the students within the district are military-affiliated, with many of them attending one of the five district schools located on Fort Riley. The district works to make the experience of these students the very best one it can be, by constantly collaborating with the command at Fort Riley on numerous projects. Additionally, Fort Riley Garrison Commander Colonel William McKannay and Command Sergeant Major Timothy Speichert both hold honorary positions on Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education.
“The military child is such a resilient individual, along with our families, but that resiliency comes from the support network, really, and their experiences,” McKannay said. “That’s so important, the schools taking the time to recognize the need, the special needs, of our military children, really makes all the difference.”
The district has an amazing responsibility to mentor, teach and support their military-affiliated children to become the very best student and overall individual that they can be.
“I know that for children of military families, they have to be resilient,” Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston said. “They find themselves moving a great deal without any say. They’re constantly having to establish new relationships and new routines.”
Due to a large number of military-affiliated students within the district, Geary County Schools USD 475 receives funding that goes toward facilities, programs, and additional resources for all of the students.
“They make a difference in USD 475,” Dr. Eggleston said.
This week, we shared the stories of one military-affiliated child from each school within the district, which can be found below.
To all of USD 475’s military-affiliated students, and their families, thank you for the lifestyle in which you endure and the sacrifices you have made our country. We strive to give our military students the very best education and opportunities in which they deserve. Happy Month of the Military Child.
Anna C., Fort Riley Elementary
Anna is in fourth grade at Fort Riley Elementary, and her favorite part of school is having the ability to be inside her classroom, surrounded by her classmates. Anna has been at Fort Riley Elementary for the past two years. With her dad currently stationed at Fort Riley, and her mom having served before she was born, Anna said it’s nice to be around other military-affiliated students who are familiar with the unique experiences she has with parents in the military.
“It makes me happy because they don’t think that we’re weird for being people who move a lot since sometimes people will stay in the same place and know each other for their whole life,” Anna said. “When you meet new people, I think it just makes me feel special.”
Anna said Fort Riley Elementary has been one of her favorite schools so far, and we are so lucky to have Anna as part of the USD 475 family. We thank Anna and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Thaddeus H., Eisenhower Elementary
Thaddeus is in fifth grade, which he said has been a fun-filled experience learning so many things, including preparing for middle school. His favorite thing to learn in the classroom is math because you learn so many different things that will end up helping you throughout the rest of your life. Thaddeus said he loves being at Eisenhower Elementary and has made so many friends, some of which have military in their family just like him. Thaddeus’ dad is in the military, which he said is fun because you move around the country, but it can also be sad and at times scary. However, what makes it better is being at Eisenhower, where he can be around other military kids to talk to, and even serve as a mentor to the younger kids.
“I see that there’s a lot of people that get what I’m going through and everybody else that has a military member of the family,” Thaddeus said. “It’s really fun to see everybody else supporting and being comforting and happy and cheerful at this time.”
We are so lucky to have Thaddeus as part of our USD 475 family, and we thank him and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Lydia B., Fort Riley Middle School
Lydia just joined the USD 475 family this year and said she has loved the school and making new friends. Lydia’s in the gifted program and just recently completed a major science fair project. With her dad in the Army, Lydia is no stranger to moving, but among all the places she has lived this is her first time living on-post, which she said is a very cool experience being around other military kids.
“I think it is cool, if there’s a lot of deployments, to be able to have people to talk to,” Lydia said.
This, unfortunately, is Lydia’s last year with us and we are very sad to see her go, but we have loved having her be a part of the USD 475 family. We thank Lydia and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Sariah M., Franklin Elementary
Sariah has been with Franklin Elementary since kindergarten and is now in second grade, which she said is giving her a proper challenge – something she is not afraid of. A lover of learning about all different things, Sariah’s favorite subject is math. Sariah’s dad is a member of the National Guard and is currently in Emporia. It’s hard to say goodbye to him, Sariah said, but having students and teachers at Franklin to talk to help her through that.
“It feels like they’re another family of mine,” Sariah said.
We are so lucky to have Sariah as part of our USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Karleigh P., H.D. Karns
Karleigh is in H.D. Karns’ 8th Grade Magnet Program, and has been a part of the 475 family for the past two years. Since joining, Karleigh said her experience has been great and her grades have improved. Karleigh’s favorite part of school is the Job’s for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, where she learns about ways to prepare for life after high school. With her stepdad in the Army, Karleigh has gotten to move around, see different places, experience new environments, and meet new people, which she said has been a lot of fun. Karleigh lives on post at Fort Riley, and said being surrounded by other military kids has been a good experience.
“It basically just tells me that I’m not alone,” Karleigh said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, there are other people who are definitely here for me through this journey and I’m not going to have to do it by myself.'”
We are so lucky to have Karleigh as part of our USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
A’Niyah F., Ware Elementary
A’Niyah is in fourth grade at Ware Elementary, her very first year with the school. A’Niyah said when she first got to school at the beginning of the year she was quite shy, but not that’s not the case. She has found many friends and loves to continue finding more. With her mom being in the Army and currently deployed, A’Niyah said it’s a hard situation to navigate, but those friends help her through it.
“It’s nice having someone to talk to and just getting to know them better about how their mom or dad is when they go away,” A’Niyah said.
We are so lucky to have A’Niyah as part of our USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Brayden G., Sheridan Elementary
Brayden is in fifth grade, his very first year at Sheridan Elementary. He said from the very beginning it was easy to make a lot of friends, and has really enjoyed his teacher and the fun activities she comes up with. His favorite is her logic puzzles. Brayden said being so close to Fort Riley there are a lot of his peers are military-affiliated, and with his dad being in the Army it is nice to have that support.
“It feels sometimes, if you’re not around a military base and you’re a military kid and then there’s nobody else that is military, it feels kind of awkward and you feel like the odd man out,” Brayden said. “Being around the military base, they really help all of the military kids. It’s really just, awesome.”
We are so lucky to have Brayden as a part of our USD 475 family. We thank Brayden and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Gabe W., Milford Elementary
Gabe is in second grade and has made some close friends in his class, he said. He enjoys learning math problems, but it’s not quite his favorite subject.
“Well, it’s actually my second favorite because P.E.,” Gabe said. “When I grow up I either want to be a farmer or a P.E. teacher.”
Gabe said he gets his exercise from his dad, who is in the Army and has previously been deployed to places like Alaska and Korea. It’s hard when his dad is gone, Gabe said, but he is enjoying having him home right now.
We are so lucky to have Gabe as part of our USD 475 family. We thank him and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Isabella S., Junction City High School
Isabella is a sophomore at Junction City High School, her very first year at the school. She said moving from one place to another is a hard adjustment, but one thing that helped her with her move to Junction City was joining the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). With her dad in the Army and currently being deployed, the military is a large part of her life, so joining the JROTC was very important to her. In doing so, she gained friendships and learned many important life skills. Being at Junction City High School, Isabella said she experienced a new kind of welcome she wasn’t familiar with, which was the school’s staff being there for her in the adjustment to a new school and trying as many ways as needed to help her grow and adapt to the new environment.
“It can give you a new perspective on things, so you know that things aren’t always the same way. There are new ways to learn things and there are a lot of new opportunities that you can have and be involved in and possibly teach to other cadets,” Isabella said. “I feel like that’s really important, because if you are able to understand something that you didn’t before in a new way, then maybe you can find other ways to teach that to other people even while you’re still learning because everyone’s still learning.”
Isabella is the Cadet Battalion Executive Office of Junction City High School’s JROTC. We are so lucky to have Isabella as part of the USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Isaiah B., Spring Valley Elementary
Isaiah said his year in fifth grade has been going really well, and his favorite part is science because it’s really cool and fun. His favorite thing to learn about is space.
“I want to be an astronaut,” Isaiah said.
Isaiah has been with Spring Valley for the past few years, but with his dad in the Army, he is no stranger to traveling across the country, which he said is really fun because you have to opportunity to make so many friends. Like he has at Spring Valley, where there are other kids with family in the military as well.
“It’s really just nice to have other kids be just like me,” Isaiah said.
We are so lucky to have Isaiah as part of the USD 475 family. We thank him and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Jakailyn H., Washington Elementary
Jakailyn came to Washington Elementary during second grade, and has now moved up to third grade. Her awesome teacher and the friends she has met has made third grade really enjoyable, she said.
“I look forward to a good day,” Jakailyn said.
Jakailyn’s dad is in the military, which makes her feel special, she said, because not all kids get to experience the things she does due to her family being in the military.
“It makes me feel brave and courageous,” Jakailyn said.
We are so lucky to have Jakailyn as part of our USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Lynlee A., Seitz Elementary
Lynlee has been with Seitz Elementary since second grade, when her dad, who is in the Army, was stationed at Fort Riley. Lynlee is now in fourth grade, which she said is going very well. Her favorite part of being at Seitz Elementary is how inclusive they are of everyone. This is especially nice for the military-affiliated kids who experience things other kids do not, such as moving around, being away from family, and, for Lynlee, trying to find new dance studios.
“I feel kind of better knowing that there are other kids that I can talk to and they’ll understand me more,” Lynlee said.
This unfortunately is Lynlee’s last year with us, and we are so sad to see her go, but we have loved having her be a part of our USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Khristoper Coleman, Lincoln Elementary
Khristopher joined the Lincoln Lions two years ago and is now enjoying fourth grade, especially math class. Since the very first week he arrived at Lincoln, Khristopher said he has made lots of friends with who he can try out his jokes on.
“Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he got stuck in a crack,” Khristopher said.
Khristopher’s grandma is currently in the Army, and his grandpa is a Army veteran, which is the very reason he is here today.
“My grandma said that how my papa and her went, they were in the same rack when they went to Japan, and they met, and then that’s how they started dating,” Khristopher said.
We are so lucky to have Khristopher as part of our USD 475 family. We thank him and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Reagan A., Morris Hill Elementary
Reagan has been a Morris Hill Panther since kindergarten, and math is her favorite subject to learn about in school. However, her favorite thing to do may surprise you.
“We’re going to take a test,” Reagan said regarding the thing she looks forward to the most at school. “It just seems easier than regular work.”
Both of Reagan’s parents are in the Army, which she said is sad when they have to leave, but she is still very proud of them.
“They’re doing amazing things,” Reagan said.
This unfortunately is Reagan’s last year with us and we are so sad to see her go, but we have loved having her be a part of the USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Riley M., Westwood Elementary
Riley is in kindergarten and loves to read, with her favorite book being “Click Clack Moo.” She can run super-fast, just like her favorite animal, cheetahs.
“It’s hard to get a cheetah for a pet because that’s a predator,” Riley said.
Riley’s dad is in the Army, and she said it’s difficult when he has to leave.
“I really love my dad,” Riley said.
However, when he’s back she enjoys that time and loves to play chess with him.
“A lot of times he wins and sometimes I win,” Riley said.
We are so lucky to have Riley as part of the USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Teagan L., Grandview Elementary
Teagan is in first grade and said he loves basically everything about his school.
“I like being at Grandview so much I even asked my mom if I could stay here yesterday on the way home,” Teagan said.
Recess is his favorite, and getting green squares when he behaves to possibly get a treat, he said. Another thing Teagan enjoys about school is having other classmates who have family in the military just like him, with his dad being in the Army.
“My dad likes his other Army persons, so I like my other friends,” Teagan said.
We are so lucky to have Teagan as part of the USD 475 family. We thank him and his family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Jaden V., Junction City Middle School
Jaden is in eighth grade and has been at Junction City Middle School for four years, which is longer than usual, she said. With her dad in the military, she has traveled to multiple different places. Thankfully, she has found friends, and even teachers, at Junction City who have experienced the same thing.
“I can just go find them and talk to them and they understand that if I move, they know what it means,” Jaden said.
Jaden said seeing her dad be able to accomplish the things that he does within the military is inspiring.
“It feels good. It makes me feel like I can do the same things, too,” Jaden said.
We are so lucky to have Jaden as part of the USD 475 family. We thank her and her family for the strength they hold and the sacrifices they have made for our country.