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Commander, Submarine Group Two


 
 
120427-N-UA460-146 PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (April 27, 2012) Fire Control
Technician 1st Class Joseph Nardi signs an autograph for fifth-grader Harlan
Thomas during a visit to Harbordale Elementary School. Fourteen Sailors
assigned to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700)
visited the school as part of Fleet Week Port Everglades 2012. Four U.S. Navy
ships, a submarine and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter are participating in Fleet
Week Port Everglades 2012, an event designed to show the investment
Americans have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that
do not have a significant Navy presence. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson/Released)
USS Dallas Sailors Visit Local Students During Fleet Week
 
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- Fourteen Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles Class-attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700) visited Harbordale Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., April 27 as part of Fleet Week Port Everglades 2012.

The visit served as a chance for students to learn about the Navy and its Sailors. The event also provided an opportunity for the submariners to emphasize the importance of education.

"This kind of event is a huge opportunity for us to reach out to these kids and show them that we do more than just fight," said Commander, Navy Region Southeast Community Relations Coordinator Chief Religious Program Specialist (SW/AW) Mike Music. "Many of these children may not be familiar with the Navy and what our Sailors do, so for them to have a chance to interact with the Sailors can be a real learning experience."

The Sailors spent the morning speaking to kindergarten through fifth-grade students about their Navy careers and how math and science are essential to their ability to successfully perform their jobs.

According to Theresa Bucolo, Harbordale Elementary School principal, Sailors can have a tremendous impact on educators' efforts to encourage children to learn.

"The kids love these visits because the uniforms are so impressive and the Sailors really are like celebrities to them," she said. "The kids look up to them and will really listen to what they have to say. I can say it over and over again, but to hear a successful Sailor up there talking about the importance of education puts it on a different level."

While many of the students walked away from the event with new perspective on the Navy, many of the Sailors left with a sense of true satisfaction from the opportunity to have a positive impact on children who may someday be Navy leaders themselves, said Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SS/DV) Chris Duman, who participated in the visit.

"Being able to come out here and spend the time with the children of the community has been absolutely great," he said. "It's a day for us and the kids to get together and learn more about each other. Who knows, maybe today will have such an impact on one of these kids, they will go on to be a great leader in the Navy."

In addition to speaking to more than 300 students, Sailors also had lunch in the school cafeteria where they signed hundreds of autographs for hundreds of enthusiastic kids.

"It was a lot of fun," said fifth-grade student Jasmine Johnson. "My favorite part of this visit was learning about the meaning of the pins and patches."

Harbordale Elementary School was established in 1959 and currently enrolls 350 students. The school has had a long-standing relationship with the Navy, coordinating annual visits during Fleet Week Port Everglades for nearly a decade.

Four U.S. Navy ships, a submarine, and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter are participating in Fleet Week Port Everglades 2012, an event designed to showcase the investment Americans have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.