NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodEdwards Air Force Base / Rosamond / Mojave


Richmond Elementary celebrates Purple Star designation in Ridgecrest

Richmond Elementary is the only Kern County school to receive the Purple Star recognition, and one of 44 schools statewide
Posted at 7:52 PM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-15 22:52:57-04

RIDGECREST, Calif. (KERO) — Richmond Elementary School has a special flag raising ceremony and celebrates its Purple Star recognition during its annual Purple Up assembly.


The Ridgecrest community, including active-duty military members, came out to salute Richmond Elementary. I’m Steve Virgen, your high desert neighborhood reporter. It's called a "purple up" celebration... Richmond is the only Kern County school to receive the purple star, and one of 44 schools statewide to gain the recognition for military-connected schools.

“I feel so good because I’ve been through so many things. My dad was on the ship and I didn’t get to see him that much and this school, knowing that I have other friends that also got to experience that, makes me know that I wasn’t the only one who had to feel that pain,” Alexander Davis said.

Alexander Davis, a fifth grader at Richmond, says the school and the anchored 4 life program have helped him as one of the many military-connected students among the nearly 400 kids at Richmond.

“The Purple Star program provides some structure to helping those military kids. So when they come into a new school after yet another move they have welcoming arms and a school that knows what they’re going through and can help them through all the struggles that happen as a kid that moves into a new area,” said Captain Jeremy Vaughan, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

Vaughn says Richmond is the first school at China Lake to receive Purple star status. Richmond has a Purple Up celebration in April - during Month of the Military Child. The school had an extra reason to celebrate on Monday because it’s now a Purple Star school, among the most committed and best equipped to meet the unique needs of military-connected students.

“I’m happy to see that everyone’s happy that we got the Purple Star. And, I’m very happy that the military kids get to experience this at Richmond Elementary," said Sofia Vasquez, a Richmond student.

"The families are very supportive. They know the challenges. They can volunteer a lot. They show up a lot, all of our programs, all of our events. They’ve been great to work with. The kids are typically very involved. Just excellent students," said Michael Yancey, Richmond Elementary Principal.

The school has recovered and moved since the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake. They’re expected to move again to a new campus next year.

“Richmond may not have everything in the world. But it still has enough to keep most kids happy and that’s enough for me," said Evalyn Stockbauer, a Richmond student.

“The Sierra Sands Unified School District and the base have had a long relationship of supporting one another and the students in this district and to be recognized in that way is really important," Bill Farris, Sierra Sands School District Board President.

Stay in Touch with Us Anytime, Anywhere: