WARRENTON — On April 30, Jenna Allen, special education teacher and ombudsman to the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast, hosted a day of recognition for the military children at Warrenton Grade School. 

April is declared by the Department of Defense as the “Month of the Military Child,” and at least 68 students at WGS have parents who are active duty military serving in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines. Many more students have parents who served in the past. 

Military children move every few years as their parents are transferred, and are often separated from their parents for long periods of time during deployments.

As ombudsman, Allen provides support and acts as liaison between Coast Guard families and their command when at sea. She also helps organize Coast Guard events, and provides resources to the community.

For the month of the military child, Allen provided teachers with information and tips on how best to support their military students, and teachers wore purple on April 30 to show their support of military students.

Some members of the Coast Guard visited the school to read books aloud to elementary classes.

With assistance from Lori Carlson, Lisa Lilley and Krista Heywood, Allen invited all military children to be honored with their family members. Students played games and made their own “dog tags.” There was a raffle held, and ice cream cones for everyone. 

“I think it is important to recognize military children,” said Heywood. “Sometimes we forget that these students also have to make sacrifices for their country, leaving behind friends every few years and adjusting to new places to live and attend school, often with a parent who is gone for long periods of time. In these cases, teachers and schools can play an extremely important role in a child’s experience and it is crucial that we show our support and appreciation for the military child.”

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