FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Marion County Schools announced that seven schools have achieved the distinction of being named a Purple Star Award School through the partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with the Common Ground Partnership.

With all seven schools being recognized, that means that Marion County has become a Purple Star District. School officials said that makes Marion County one of only nine in the Mountain State to have the distinction.

The West Virginia Common Ground Partnership collaborates with schools across the state to advance the success of all students. 

“I’m not from here originally. I am originally from Idaho, um, I’ve lived in Marion County for the last eight years and it is a really, really cool thing. This is a very unique thing, it’s not very common for an entire county and community to come together and honor military families this way or do what they need to do to be able to show they actively taking care of military families,” said SSG. Nikolas Crane, West Virginia National Guard. “So, this is just outstanding that Marion County and this community comes together the way they do. And they are just so supportive and super welcoming. So, it is a, it’s a, you know, from not coming from here originally it is really neat to see such a close-knit community.” 

The Purple Star Award is a designation assigned to schools that display a special commitment to supporting military children and their families. Common Ground Partners review applications and the West Virginia Department of Education issues awards to schools meeting the award’s eligibility criteria. 

“I have two kids of my own that are students of the county here. So, you know, I have seen firsthand how those schools affect them or help them along. It does get busy, I did get called away sometimes for different schools and different events and they’re super Compliant, super helpful in those moments,” Crane said. “So, I know other students and families in my same situation. It’s great to know that the district is that supportive and that welcoming of military families.” 

The following schools have met the criteria to hold the three-year distinction of being named a Purple Star school. 

  • Barrackville Elementary School 
    • Principal: Vicki Bombard, School: Contact: Sarah Episcopo 
  • East Park Elementary School 
    • Principal: Jessica Holt, School Contact: lan Harned  
  • Fairview Middle School 
    • Principal: Steve Rodriguez, School Contact: Steve Rodriguez 
  • Jayenne Elementary School 
    • Principal: Scott Morris, School Contact: Julianna Cipressi 
  • Monongah Middle School  
    • Principal: Brad Harker, School Contacts: Tim Ridenour 
  • Watson Elementary School 
    • Principal: Karen Decker, School Contact: Stacia Hoffman 
  • West Fairmont Middle School 
    • Principal: June Haught, School Contact: Taylor Myers