🎖️ Blue Star Welcome Week at Frost Middle School
Moving to a new city can be a challenge for anyone, but it is a way of life for military families. There are approximately 14,500 military-connected students enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools, and the school division has developed numerous resources to welcome them and help them adapt to their new homes.
Approximately 600,000 active-duty and transitioning military families move each year. Blue Star Welcome Week, held from September 23 to October 1, is a nationwide campaign to build a better sense of community and belonging for those who serve and their families. Blue Star Families organizes the campaign. The organization is the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to supporting military and veteran families in the communities where they live.
Julia Kim, an eighth grader at Frost Middle School, is one of their 134 military-connected students who make up almost 11% of their student population. She has moved eight times and has lived internationally. She is currently in her third year at FCPS.
Knowing how it feels to be the new kid at school, Julia decided she would become an ambassador to help other military kids feel welcome at Frost. “It’s important to support others going through the same thing as me. Helping them was something I felt like I could do,” Julia explained.
The ambassador program at Frost has 30 student members. When a new student from a military family enrolls at Frost, they are matched with an ambassador, an existing student who helps them adjust to their new school and schedule, and serves as a friendly face. These one-on-one connections with other students are incredibly helpful in getting military students acclimated to their new environment.
Julia’s advice for military students is to, “not be afraid to reach out for help. Participate in activities you enjoy to meet other people like you,” she said.
In addition to being an ambassador, Julia participates in student government, scouts, and swim team year-round. “It is really important [for schools] to offer activities and extracurriculars to help [students] build connections,” she said. “FCPS has been really amazing. Everyone here is really nice and welcoming.”
Julia says being welcomed in a new community is significant because “we really appreciate the extra support. We go through so much moving and it helps us feel acknowledged and important.”
Frost is one of 53 Purple Star schools within FCPS. Purple Star Schools have been recognized by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children for demonstrating their commitment to meeting the needs of military-connected students and their families. These schools actively support our military-connected families in a variety of ways.