AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - Schools start back next week and for Aiken County, there’s a new reason to be excited. This school year brings a new title for the district: the Purple Star designation.

Dr. Tom Clark, Executive Director of the Fort Gordon Alliance says, “I’m excited. I’m coming back to see how it works in action.”

Purple Star designation is a commitment for all schools to support military families.

“I think military children, because they have to move so much, they face even more emotional issues as they’re transferring into schools. So this will be a good thing that will benefit the military students, but I’m sure our regular families, the families that live here all the time, will benefit too,” says SC Education Superintendent Molly Spearman.

The program ensures that students transferring in won’t have an issue keeping credits or joining clubs. Getting to this point was an effort on all levels, with student ambassadors like Tommy Lloyd helping out new students as well. “It honestly feels great. I think it’s an amazing program and a great thing that’s happening.”

Aiken County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford says, “They see an opportunity to contribute to their home, and the future viability of our community. So any time we can encourage our students to help someone else, and to do something that’s bigger than themselves, that’s a win.”

Aiken is 1 of 2 school districts in the state starting this program, but Dr. Alford says it won’t only benefit his county. “The people who live here in this region have a heart to serve, and this is a place we want them to be.”

“I know some servicemembers who live in this region, and they love it here. They absolutely love it,” says Dr. Clark.

As the program takes off, they hope the ongoing commitment to military families will spark in other districts.

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