Sept. 19, 2023 - Comal ISD celebrated the Purple Star Designation of three of its campuses with surprise visits today lead by Superintendent Dr. John E. Chapman III, members of the Board of Trustees, drumlines, cheerleaders, dance teams and more.
The three campuses, Davenport High School, Hill Country College Preparatory High School and Pieper High School, were awarded the Purple Star Campus Designation for the 2023-24 school year by Governor Greg Abbott in late August.
The Purple Star Campus Designation recognizes Texas district and charter schools that show their support and commitment to meeting the unique needs of military-connected students and their families.
This special honor was established by Governor Abbott in 2019, and every fall, the Texas Education Agency awards the Purple Star Campus designation to campuses that apply and meet established criteria. Campuses that are selected receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on their websites and are included on the TxSchools.gov web page.
“This designation shows families that there are programs in place to help the transition process and support is available to bridge the educational gap that may be caused by constant relocation,” says Misty Cantrell, the military liaison at PHS. “As a member of the military myself, I always relied on other military families to help select the right school for my children. This designation helps identify schools that support military families when searching for the next school your child will attend prior to the move.”
The other military liaisons are Marla Byrd for HCCPHS and Rachel Kunkel for DHS. In addition to serving as their campus military liaison, each serves the district in other role as well. Cantrell is the academic and career adviser for PHS; Byrd is a counselor at HCCPHS; and Kunkel is a math teacher at DHS.
“It was important to our campus and community to receive the designation because as a new campus we wanted to show the community of Garden Ridge and San Antonio that we are able to offer and provide support to our military-connected families,” says Kunkel who is a former military-connected student herself.
In fact, DHS has more than 200 military-connected students, while HCCPHS, which has a smaller enrollment, has more than 20 percent of its student body as military connected. The number of military-connected students at PHS is more than 300.
The three campuses also have established Student 2 Student programs, known as S2S that specializes in welcoming new students to campus.
“Our S2S participants directly connect with students upon their arrival to campus,” says Byrd. “They go above and beyond to make deeper connections with both military-connected and non-military students.”
In addition to student and staff support, these campuses have received community and military support, working with Joint Base San Antonio as well as business partners. Further support is provided by each campus’ JROTC program and leadership including Lt. Col. Patrick Almond at DHS and Maj. Dave Bower at PHS.
“Texas proudly supports the brave men and women of our U.S. military and their families—and that includes the nearly 200,000 military-connected students attending public schools across our state,” said Governor Abbott. “I signed a law in 2019 establishing the Purple Star Campus Designation program to encourage Texas public schools to expand resources and tools available on their campuses to help them meet the unique educational needs of military-connected students and their families. Together, we are giving back to our brave military families and paving the way for a brighter future for all Texas students.”
To receive the Purple Star Campus Designation, schools must designate a campus-based military liaison, create and maintain an easily accessible webpage that includes information for military-connected students and their families, institute a campus transition program for military-connected students, and support a military family assistance initiative. All Texas public schools are eligible to receive a Purple Star Campus Designation, regardless of their military-connected student population size. Applications for the designation are accepted annually.
Congratulations to these Purple Star Campuses!
-The military liaison at Hill Country College Preparatory High School was surprised with a celebration for earning the Purple Star Designation for the campus. Pictured front row from left is Comal ISD Board of Trustee Jason York, HCCPHS Principal Julie Wiley, HCCPHS military liaison Marla Byrd and Comal ISD Board of Trustees Treasurer Amanda Jones. Back row from left is Assistant Superintendent Krista Moffatt, Assistant Superintendent Corbee Wunderlich, Superintendent Dr. John E. Chapman III and student leadership coordinator Britney Cross.
-Davenport High School’s JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Patrick Almond was surprised by Comal ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Chapman III, Board of Trustees Jason York and David Krawczynski, assistant superintendents Krista Moffatt and Corbee Wunderlich and DHS Principal Matt DeLoach as well as the DHS cheerleaders, DHS drumline and JROTC cadets. Almond helped spearhead the efforts for DHS to be named a Purple Star Campus.
-Davenport High School’s military liaison Rachel Kunkel was surprised by Comal ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Chapman III, Board of Trustees Jason York and David Krawczynski, assistant superintendents Krista Moffatt and Corbee Wunderlich and DHS Principal Matt DeLoach as well as the DHS cheerleaders and DHS drumline. Kunkel spearheaded the efforts for DHS to be named a Purple Star Campus.
-Pieper High School’s military liaison Misty Cantrell and JROTC senior instructor Maj. Dave Bower were surprised by Comal ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Chapman III, Board of Trustees’ Treasurer Amanda Jones and Trustee Jason York, assistant superintendents Krista Moffatt and Corbee Wunderlich and PHS Principal Jaime Alvarez-Calderon as well as the PHS dance team and PHS drumline. Cantrell and Bower spearheaded the efforts for PHS to be named a Purple Star Campus.
-Davenport High School students Maricela Aguilar and Ryan Mauntel are members of the campus’ Student 2 Student organization.
-Members of the Pieper High School Student 2 Student organization attended the Military Child Education Coalition conference this summer in Washington, D.C.