For Immediate Release — March 4, 2009 | Pacific
Charles Steitz: Public Affairs Officer | DSN: 644-5657
TORII STATION, OKINAWA , JAPAN — March 4, 2009 — Dr. Nancy Bresell, Director, DoDDS-Pacific/DDESS-Guam , is pleased to announce that sailors from the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier along with students and staff from a Fleet Activities Yokosuka school met on February 23 to formalize an agreement increasing support and cooperation.
In a ceremony at The Sullivans Elementary School, USS George Washington (CVN 73) Commanding Officer Capt. J.R. Haley and The Sullivans Principal Walter Wilhoit signed a mutual Ship-to-School adoption agreement. The Ship-to-School adoption partners Yokosuka’s largest ship with the Department of Defense Dependents School’s (DoDDS) largest school. The ceremony was held on Monday, February 23, one day following President George Washington’s Birthday.
As part of the agreement, the students and staff pledged to provide community relations (COMREL) opportunities for USS George Washington sailors, while USS George Washington agreed to have its sailors help mentor students. According to a memorandum from the school, sailors will spend time reading to students, playing games and assisting them with school work. Also, the school hopes to provide a “surrogate family” to single and geographically-isolated Sailors through cards, letters and visits during the year. Wilhoit said having sailors visit the school is beneficial because it introduces more variety into the students’ education.
“Probably 95% of our students are Navy dependants. Some of their moms and dads are underway for months throughout the year, so when we have sailors come in to the school, it’s a good reminder of mom and dad,” said Wilhoit.
“Creating and developing partnerships ensures that our students, teachers, and schools remain the foundation of success within the communities we serve. I am so delighted by this new agreement which benefits both our students and the sailors,” Bresell added.The Sullivans school, in its 62nd year of operation, has a history of partnership with forward-deployed aircraft carriers. The school had similar arrangements with USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS Midway (CV 41).