Military-Friendly School District Celebrates Independence Day by Highlighting Recruiting Success Amid Service Shortages

COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) — Defense officials say every branch of the military is struggling to meet recruiting goals in 2022.

However, there is a local school district that goes above and beyond to inspire, support and provide new service members.

“We work hand-in-hand with recruiters,” said Wendy Sledd, communications director for the Copperas Cove Independent School District. “We regularly allow recruiters on our campuses to spend time with our students in a relaxed environment, such as lunch periods. »

According to the Department of Defense, Copperas Cove ranks seventh in the United States for most military recruits per capita.

“We hold each other accountable and operate like family at Copperas Cove, Sledd said. “Although we are a 6A school, I think because of this small town feel that you have here, we have more obligation and pride in our community, our country and our world, and that is reflected in our students. ‘Volunteering as well as our personnel and our students entering the military…I mean…it’s reflected in our lives.

Due to its military ties, the 4th of July may mean a little more to CCISD than most school districts.

“It’s kind of weird to be able to leave on the same day that we got our freedom to be able to go and fight for it at the same time,” Ethan Provost said.

Provost, a recent graduate of Copperas Cove High School, is leaving central Texas for Chicago on Wednesday for basic training for the U.S. Navy.

He says leaving to join the army so soon after Independence Day makes him special.

“It’s much more inspiring to be able to go out and support the day as well,” Provost said. “I am delighted to be able to travel and serve my country, mainly to give back what it has already given me.”

Provost says he was inspired by his father’s service in the U.S. Army, but wanted to do his service his own way, so he joined the Navy.

“Being there for 17 years and seeing the impact he had on the world inspired me to do something,” Provost said. “But I didn’t want to just go completely into the military, I wanted to have my own idea about it.”

He says his time at Copperas Cove HS helped him make his military dream a reality.

“A lot of my advisors actually inspired me to go for it and pushed me even when I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to,” Provost said.

In 202-2021, CCISD received eight Purple Star Campus designations from the Texas Education Agency, including Copperas Cove HS which is home to the district’s popular JROTC program.

“Because we live so close to Fort Hood and because we have the influence of military families, we have a very strong JROTC program at Copperas Cove High School,” Sledd said. “We limit this to 275 students each year so that we can properly provide the education they need, and we have a waiting list.”

Students who decide to join the military receive a set of red, white and blue accords to wear around their necks upon graduation – this year they also received and wore satin stoles representing their branch.

District officials say they are proud of their students who remind the public that freedom is upheld by those who volunteer to defend our country.

“Freedom is not free, our students have served, our families have served, and we must remember that it was our veterans who paved the way for us to have the freedoms we enjoy daily and hold dear. often taken for granted,” Sledd said.

More than ten percent of CCISD employees are veterans, Sledd said.

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