Boots on the Ground at Robinson
November 4, 2016
Every few years, military children follow the same routine: a new school, new friends, new life, and a new house. This is the life of those who fight to keep our country and citizens safe.
Military children, often called “military brats” or “juniors”, can move multiple times throughout their life and it can be challenging to adjust to.
“I have lived in 10 places [and] enrolled in seven schools,” said junior Rory Donahue.
While deployments do take a toll on the soldier, it is also hard on their family members. Permanent change of station (PCSing) is the relocation of an active duty member to another base. The government controls between 700 and 800 military bases worldwide, which leads to many moves throughout an active duty member’s career.
Whether a student is moving to another state across the country, or another country across the world, a new life is awaiting with a new school. Adjusting can be extremely difficult, socially and academically.
“The hardest part about moving around is definitely making friends,” said junior Gabbi Johnson. “Marching Band and Winter Color Guard have helped me transition to Robinson.”
Robinson Secondary is set within a 30-mile radius of seven military bases, establishing a prevalent military community in northern Virginia.
“Military kids tend to stick together. We somehow find each other and use each other to lean on for support,” said Johnson.
Along with moving, another challenge arises for military children: Temporary Duty Yonder and Deployments (TDYs).
“My dad has been deployed 5 times. He has been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Donahue.
With deployments ranging from six to over twelve months long, being away from a parent takes a cost on any student.
“We emailed and facetimed has much as we could. It really affected my whole family. My sister thought my dad lived in a computer,” said Donahue.
The most common deployment is to the Middle East. Danger is constant with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device), ISIS, and other violence.
“I was terrified my friend’s father died,” said Donahue. “[He] was in my dad’s battalion. It was scary.”
“I’m extremely proud of my parents. They are the true reason for who I am today,” said Donahue. “I have thought about joining the military.” Transportation for students interested in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) at Chantilly Academy is available. Robinson’s own SGA hosts a lunch during Support the Troops spirit week in May. Robinson Secondary is even named after a fallen soldier, James W. Robinson, who enlisted in the Marine Corps and the the Army.
“Military kids are tough. We’ve spent our lives moving from place to place, and when we don’t move, our friends do. Eventually, always saying hello and goodbye wears on a person. I’ll always be proud of my dad and respect other services members for what they do.” said Johnson.