CCHS students, staff attend conference to transition military kids

Special to Leader-Press


Nia Frisby, Anaiya Deshong-McGruder, and Lecktra Norwood know what it feels like to be the “new kid” at school. All military or former military dependents, the three Copperas Cove High School students have experienced the feelings of isolation, loneliness and even fear of the unknown. Will I make new friends? Will I like it here? Will my parent deploy again to war soon?

Frisby, Deshong-McGruder and Norwood are current members of the CCHS Student 2 Student Club which currently has 51 members. The membership count fluctuates based on the number of military students enrolled in CCHS each year. The purpose of the club is to welcome incoming military students to their new school and help departing military students prepare for their next school. The mission of S2S is to bring military-connected and civilian students together. 

Members and the sponsor of the CCHS S2S Club, Donna Brewer, were encouraged to attend the Military Child Education Coalition National Conference in Washington, D.C. and HEB, Plus agreed to fully fund the travel for the training. The student members voted on the three students they felt would best represent them in Washington, D.C. selecting Frisby, Deshong-McGruder and Norwood. The expectation was that the students attending the conference would train the rest of the club members upon returning to school in the fall.

During the national conference, CCHS students received training to enhance personal communication skills, learned ways to support new military-related students through the first few weeks at a new school, and networked with students from other states and countries. 

Frisby participated in a panel discussion focused on the needs of military students and was asked how parents can love their children unconditionally but still hold them to high expectations.

“Instead of grading children on their academic and extracurricular achievements, parents should differentiate tough love from the unconditional non-stop love that is supposed to be provided,” Frisby said. “Parents need to provide a thriving environment that not only nurtures children but also teaches the most crucial necessities such as failure is okay and in fact is paramount to success. Children want to know they are not just scores they get on tests. They are cherished and encouraged to have the best future possible by the one’s opinions that matter the most.”

The attending sponsor, Donna Brewer, learned about the unique needs of military-related students and ways to support students through transitions.  

“This was a time to collaborate with other military schools world-wide in order to better serve our military students,” Brewer said. “My biggest take away from the conference was all the ideas other schools have to serve our students, as well as make them feel more comfortable and part of the school. The best part is that this isn’t just for incoming military students, but for all students.” 

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