Makin Island Sailors Attend Awards Ceremony at Elementary School 
By Seaman Matthew J. Hill, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) attended a student-of-the-month ceremony at Willow Elementary School in San Ysidro, Calif., Oct. 19, as part of the ship's Adopt-a-School program.

During the ceremony, Makin Island Sailors joined school officials in presenting award certificates to selected students from each class in grades five through eight that recognized their achievements in academics, citizenship and attendance.

"The ceremony is an opportunity to recognize the students for their efforts and the sailors give an added value to the students and the guests. It is a good feeling for everyone," said Manuel Bojorquez, principal, Willow Elementary School.

Bojorquez said the recognition is part of an incentive program designed to motivate students to succeed, and that the Sailors served as positive role models for the students.

"Today is so full of moments the children will remember," said Bojorquez. "I have students who still comment about visits from Sailors years ago. The men and women in uniform make such an impact on them."

Several of the students being recognized had parents who were also in attendance for the ceremony.

"Having the Navy here is great motivation for the kids," said Carlos Moreno Sr., whose son Carlos, a fifth-grader at the school, was recognized with a certificate. "The Sailors show what hard work and effort can do."

The younger Carlos agreed with his father.

"It was awesome having the Navy here," he said. "Receiving this award is an achievement and means I am doing good."

After the ceremony, members of the faculty gave the Sailors a tour of the campus which included visits to many of the classrooms, and spending time with the children.

"I had fun with them and I enjoyed the questions about what I do and my ribbons," said Engineman 2nd Class Florinda Sevilla. "As a representative of the Navy, I want to motivate and inspire them to achieve their dreams."

Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost-savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment confirm the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation, and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
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