Luke Elementary School Celebrates Purple Star School Nomination

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zoie Cox
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Luke Elementary School became the first school in Arizona to earn the title of Purple Star School Candidate during a ceremony held Oct. 6, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.   

To celebrate the accomplishment, Luke Elementary’s faculty and members of the Dysart Unified School District board held an assembly, ribbon cutting ceremony and breakfast where they also recognized the military children that are currently attending the school.  

“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to stand in front of the future of the United States of America, and thank you and your families for the dedication and sacrifices made for our country,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Rueschhoff, 56th Fighter Wing commander. “This program will help us continue to better meet the unique needs of our military families and ensure that our children are set up for success on all fronts.” 

A Purple Star School is recognized for the physical and emotional support it provides to military children throughout the challenges and changes they experience when moving and transitioning into their new homes. Becoming a Purple Star School recognizes Luke Elementary School’s commitment to military families and children. 

“In May of 2023 when we found out that 38 of the 50 states already had some form of purple star school designation and Arizona did not, we said ‘let’s do this’,” said Melissa Rueschhoff, Arizona attorney, entrepreneur and key spouse mentor. “As of today, the purple star program is in 43 out of the 50 states and we are excited and hopeful that in the spring, every other school district in Arizona gets to do what we are doing here today.”  

As the first school in the state of Arizona to receive the Purple Star nomination, Luke Elementary is setting the benchmark of standards for the schools who follow. Being recognized as a Purple Star School candidate aligns with the 56th FW’s line of effort to advance quality of life and the Department of Defense’s priority to take care of service members and their families.