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"Patriots" Adopt a Class
[February 01, 2013]

"Patriots" Adopt a Class

Feb 01, 2013 (DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- Story Number: NNS130201-14 Release Date: 2/1/2013 By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Whidbey Island OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140 "Patriots" adopted a class at Hillcrest Elementary School in Oak Harbor, Feb. 1.

Sailors from VAQ-140 connect with community members by reading to a kindergarten class.

"Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Lance Moreno and I decided to give back to the community by being connecting with the future leaders of the United States through reading," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 2nd Class Chelsi Ahles.

"I am proud knowing this program is working out well and that we are getting a positive reaction out of the classes that have received our videos," Ahles said.

Hillcrest Elementary School has been one of the schools in Oak Harbor to receive videos, according to Ahles. The classes that have signed up for the Adopt-A-Class range from kindergarten to second grade.

"The teacher informed me that they really liked the reading," Ahles said. "But she said sometimes it was hard to hear sometimes because of flight operations and hearing the catapult running up and down the ship." Veronica Martino, Hillcrest Elementary School's kindergarten teacher, and also a military spouse, is one of the teachers whose class is involved in the Adopt-A-Class program. She feels it is a rewarding program to be involved in.

"I am appreciative for our Sailors," Martino said. "Not only for taking the time to read to our students but for showing my students the importance of being involved in our community." The Patriots read to students during their deployments via video camera, and when they are back in the states they read to them face-to-face.

"While deployed the program provides Sailors an opportunity to stay connected with their community," said Command Master Chief Brian Polanski. "It provides powerful mentorship through reading aloud to children using the medium of audio/visual technology." According to Martino, the kindergartners are excited about the Sailors visits and the videos.

"It's fun for them to have guest readers," Martino said. "Especially when so many of my students have military parents. They look forward to the stories to come and are planning to write them when they deploy again." According to Martino, the Sailors reading benefits everyone involved.

"It bridges the gap between school and community and I really believe they are making our world a better place," Martino said. "I'm thankful for all the Sailors involved and to their [commanding officer] for their support." Polanski said he is proud for the Patriots who are involved with the program.

"Not only are they focused on the deployment mission, but they truly understand the importance of giving back to the community," Polanski said.

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