After visiting the schools on and around Fort Benning in Georgia, InsideSources’ Leo Doran delivered a feature on “The Resilience of America’s Military-Connected Students” that is running over two weeks in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer’s May 7th and May 14th Sunday editions. Fort Benning, which sits just outside of Columbus, Georgia, is one of the largest military installations in the United States. As a result, the joint military and civilian community is tasked with educating thousands of military-connected students each year. In addition to traditional public schools in the area, the Department of Defense also runs a model network of well-funded schools on the base.
The first part of the series, which is currently available on the Ledger-Enquirer website, looks at the transient lifestyle of military-connected students through the eyes of their counselors and the students themselves. An interview with retired Colonel George Steuber, the installation’s deputy garrison commander, gives a big-picture perspective on why the successful education of these students is so important to the military’s mission. Next week, the second part of the feature will describe the new school model pioneered by the defense department schools and what it is like to attend classes “outside the gates.”
From part one:
Many of the adults in Faith’s hallways are either former military or a military spouse. Furthermore, the school buildings themselves are in close proximity to housing clusters, giving the communities a small-town feeling.
“We really do get it — the military lifestyle,” said Madler, who served in the Army before getting his Ph.D. “We’ve been there, done that.”
Emma and her classmates say that having adults who understand the lifestyle is important, but the challenges remain. One seventh grader said she avoids making friends when she relocates to protect herself from the pain of having to separate when the next move comes along. Emma and her classmates regularly speak as if they themselves are in the military; they argue that they share their parent’s burdens and make real sacrifices for the Army.
“It’s part of us. If it’s part of our family, then it is part of us” said Emma.