As soon as we heard about this story today, we knew we had to share this with our MilitaryOneClick community.  Brianna Mikeska, a high school senior in Virginia, is a star student, living a world away from her parents who are currently stationed in Japan.   Brianna had attended this high school during her freshman, sophomore and junior year and moved back during her senior year to obtain  an Advanced Studies Diploma.  This educational opportunity is something she would not be able to earn if she was living with her family in Japan.  She had been part of this high schools cheerleading squad before they moved, and then she made the team again when she moved back to live with a host family. While practicing with the team she was called into the school office to inform her that she could no longer be on the team.  The school determined that she did not go through an “undue hardship” while moving to Japan due to her father’s deployment,  therefore she did not qualify to participate on the team.

I spoke via email with Mrs. Mikeska tonight, who is stationed with her husband and family in Japan.  As you can imagine she is saddened and deeply upset by this situation and she is looking for help from all families, both military and non-military to “sign the petition.”  This petition will be utilized during Brianna’s appeal to allow her  to participate in extra-curricular activities.

As a mom – I can’t imagine the hardship they are all going through right now and not being able to just give her a hug to help her through this.  Brianna’s family is living in Japan while her father is serving our country and she makes the excruciating decision to  live thousands of miles away from them to secure a better education – and this is not considered a hardship?  I am appalled at the Virginia High School League who rendered this decision!

An organization called the Military Interstate Compact Commission has been established to help our military children in this situation.  This is a quote from the home page of the MICC;  ” The average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school and most military children will attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. The Compact therefore seeks to make transition easier for the children of military families so that they are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals.”  Virginia HAS SIGNED and AGREED to the Military Interstate Compact Commission to help military children.  As part of this agreement it is stated:

What Are Some of the Specific Educational Issues that the Compact Covers?
Enrollment
  • Educational Records
  • Immunizations
  • Kindergarten & First Grade Entrance Age
  • Placement & Attendance
  • Course & Educational Program Placement
  • Special Education Services
  • Placement Flexibility
  • Absence Related to Deployment Activities
Eligibility
  • Eligibility for Student Enrollment
  • Eligibility for Extracurricular Participation

Graduation

  • Waiving courses required for graduation if similar course work has been completed
  • Flexibility in accepting state exit or end-of-course exams, national achievement tests, or alternative testing in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving state
  • Allowing a student to receive a diploma from the sending school instead of the receiving school

So let’s show the power of  the MilitaryOneClick  community and help get this changed for Brianna and all of the military children who experience “hardships” every day while their parent(s) serve in the military.

PLEASE Sign the Petition now to show your support.  Also – at the bottom of this page, please leave a note of encouragement for the Mikeska family to know they are not fighting this battle alone.  We will be in contact with Mrs. Mikeska and make sure she receives your comments.  There are buttons at the bottom of the page to easily share this page/link with your family and friends – together we can help change this.

LINK FOR Petition:  http://www.change.org/petitions/allow-a-military-child-to-participate-in-extra-curricular-activities?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_modal&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=30090186own

Link for Information Regarding the Military Compact Commission:  http://mic3.net/index.aspx

If you would like to contact the representatives diretly in Virgnia please click on this link  for the Military Interstate Compact Commission for Virginia:  http://mic3.net/pages/contact/Map/virginia.aspx

Here is the full story and video link  from WVEC Virginia Beach News – we applaud them for covering this important issue.

http://www.wvec.com/news/Virginia-Beach-teen-fights-to-be-on-cheer-leading-squad-172544741.html

by David Ham, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Updated today at 6:33 PM

 VIRGINIA BEACH–Brianna Mikeska is fighting to be on the cheerleading team.

She’s been on the squad her freshman, sophomore and junior years, but she’s been told by the Virginia High School League that she is ineligible this year because she moved to Japan midway through her junior year and then came back.

“I tried out for the cheerleading team and I made it.   I was practicing like I was gonna compete and I got pulled into the Student Activities Office and she told me that they said I wasn’t allowed to cheer because I had moved back and I hadn’t gone through any hardships since I was living with another family,” said Mikeska.
Mikeska moved because her Navy father was deployed to Japan.
The Virginia High School League denied her appeal citing that she did not go through an “undue hardship” as a reason for her leaving.
Mikeska disagrees.
“My dad’s serving our country so that how they repay us, by not letting me cheer?  It’s a hardship not having my family here,” stated Mikeska.
Christy Mcanally, a teacher in the Virginia Beach School system ,is an advocate and founder of a support group for military kids.
“Across the nation, the Joining Forces Movement has placed military families in the limelight to educate the public that they too serve our country with the sacrifices they make.  I am sure it was a difficult decision for the Mikeskas to be away from their youngest daughter her senior year,” said Mcanally.
The Mikeskas stayed in Japan, allowing their daughter Brianna to move back to Virginia Beach and stay with friends so she could graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma.
Dr. George Parker, Beach District Chair of the Virginia High School League, wrote to the executive director in Charlottesville to reconsider the denial of Brianna’s appeal.
Parker wrote, “In the case of military families, the impact of transition to a new culture and school can have significant impact on a school-aged student. Therefore, the Beach District committee feels that denying this student that opportunity to continue her athletic interests her senior year of high school would indirectly punish her for being a member of a family that serves the interest of our country.”
In an email after 13News inquired about the situation, deputy director of the VHSL Tom Zimorski wrote,  “I respectfully decline due to student confidentiality.  Any student information should be requested from the member school and it is at their discretion to whether to provide specific information.”
Brianna is now the manager of the cheerleading squad and hopes that VHSL will approve her appeal. She plans to go before the board in person in Charlottesville to state her case.

 

5 Responses to “Military Teen Denied HS Cheer Team because Dad is deployed overseas! Help Us Change This!”

  1. Christy McAnally

    The Mikeska Family is so grateful for all the support and well wishes. Thank you for taking the time to support this very worthy cause! Military Brats sacrifice more than most realize. We are nomads of the world with no place really to call “home”. Separations from loved ones, the constant moving, or always being the “new kid” at school are just a few examples of how military children sacrifice. It is probable that next week there will be an appeal hearing with the VHSL. I know our military communities around the world and advocates for military families join me in supporting Brianna Mikeska with the hopes that this will never happen to another child of the military. Thank you all for your comments and signatures on our change.org petition!

    Christy Plant McAnally
    Virginia Beach Military Child Advocate

  2. Rodney Quinn

    Absolutly outraged!

  3. Keenan Hall

    Nothing like kicking the military when they are out defending everyone’s rights.
    It is a total shame!

  4. Judy Mannschreck

    Allow her the freedom to participate in cheerleading and gymnastics.

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