Cmdr. Yvette Davids, of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet greets students from Sunset Elementary School.
SURFPAC Kicks Off ‘Partners in Education’ with Sunset Elementary
SAN DIEGO – Sailors of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) visited Sunset Elementary School for a kick-off celebration as part of the Partners in Education (PIE) program in San Ysidro, Calif., Sept. 29.

PIE is a non-profit organization consisting of education partners focused on ensuring all students leave school with the academic, technical, and employability skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.

Sailors from SURFPAC and USS Rushmore (LSD 47) were introduced to the elementary school’s students at the ceremony. Cmdr. Yvette Davids of SURFPAC, and Rushmore’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. William Grotewold were guest speakers for the event.

After showing a video that featured Navy ships, helicopters, and submarines, Davids spoke on the importance of Science and Technology in the Navy. “The people who design [ships, helicopters and submarines] for the Navy, they knew about science and they knew about math, and because of them we get to have these really cool things,” said Davids. “When you throw a stone in the water, does it float or does it sink? So how in the world do we have these hunks of metal called Navy warships float? Every single person that helped make these things possible is just like you. It could be you that designs the next airplane, with the use of math and science.”

Lt. Moneé Freas, SURFPAC’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outreach Coordinator, demonstrated several science experiments performed with liquid nitrogen. Freas froze several items including balloons, flowers, and a ping-pong ball. In the final performance, she used the liquid nitrogen to make ice cream.

“I thought ice cream would be a great way to cap off the event,” said Lt Freas, who’s STEM program was founded to raise interest in and awareness of science, technology, engineering and math amongst youth. “I think this celebration was a great beginning to the partnership between Sunrise Elementary, SURFPAC, and USS Rushmore.”

In closing, San Ysidro School Board President, Jean Romero, spoke to the students and thanked the Sailors for their participation in the event. “It is amazing that the men and women have signed up to become Sailors to protect you so that no one can come into this country and do us harm. They give up their own lives and they render service to all of us. It is an amazing sacrifice that they do so that we can be safe and I want to thank all the Navy members here today,” said Romero.

SURFPAC and Rushmore are coordinating with the elementary school for future events that will include academic mentoring, community service projects, physical fitness events, and ship tours for the students.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit or follow the Surface Force at

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