Military Flagship School

Lowndes wins Military Flagship School Award
Posted on 05/10/2019
JROTC cadets presents the colors at ceremonyBy Katelyn Umholtz katelyn.umholtz@gaflnews.com
 
May 5, 2019
VALDOSTA — Roree Stewart lived out west in Wyoming before becoming a Lowndes High Viking her junior year.

Before that, it was Texas.

Then it was New Mexico.

Then Japan.

Then Nevada.

Now, she calls Lowndes County home.

Stewart has never lived in a place more than five years because she is a U.S. Air Force brat.  “Though moving has become more difficult as I’ve gotten older, I relish the new adventure every time,” Stewart said. “I was prepared to start this new school and not be able to achieve or grow in the same way I had at my last high school. I was wrong.”
Lowndes High asked Stewart to speak on behalf of other students who are military children because of the school’s achievement in receiving the Military Flagship School Award.

LHS was one of six schools and one of two high schools in the state to receive this honor from the Georgia Department of Education.  The award goes to schools that go “above and beyond to provide a supportive environment for military students and families,” according to state education officials.  The school system teaches a large population of military students because of its proximity to and relationship with Moody Air Force Base, said Wes Taylor, Lowndes County school superintendent.
“We don’t look at them as a separate part of our community — we consider everything that goes on out there as part of our community, and we’re all one,” Taylor said. “The relationship we have with our military families just helps make up the fabric of the Lowndes County School System.”

LHS Principal LeAnne McCall noted three traits military kids share: respect, resilience and acceptance of others. 
"What a privilege it is to be able to work with students from military families," McCall said. "With Moody Air Force Base playing such an integral part in our community, Lowndes High School strives to provide support, guidance and opportunities for military students and their families."
State Rep. John Corbett, District 174, and Rep. Dave Belton, District 112, spoke about their efforts as part of the military affairs committee in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Belton said the committee has successfully passed 34 new laws in association with military affairs.  “My mission in life is to make Georgia the most military-friendly state in the union,” Belton said.

After just one year of being at Lowndes High, Stewart has made many friends, taken AP classes and joined organizations, she said.  She even joined the JROTC as a cadet and wore her uniform during the award ceremony.
“It has been an honor to become a Lowndes High Viking just as it had become an honor to be an Indian, a Ro-Hawk and a Warrior,” Stewart said. “I’m proud of my family’s commitment and the effort this school puts in to make sure that commitment is noticed, acknowledged and accepted among everyone here.”

Katelyn Umholtz is a reporter with the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256.
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