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Norfolk Naval Shipyard Participates in Annual Read Across America Day

By Kristi Britt, Public Affairs Specialist | April 17, 2020

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —

Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) partnered with three elementary schools in Portsmouth, Virginia for the annual Read Across America Day March 2.

Read Across America Day, an observance on the school day closest to Dr. Seuss' birthday, is part of a year-long program focused on motivating children and teens to read. The program is led by the National Education Association (NEA), focusing on building a nation of readers one story at a time.

Numerous civilian and military volunteers from NNSY traveled to Douglass Park Elementary School, Victory Elementary School, and James Hurst Elementary School to meet with students of varying grades and read books to them, whether it be a favorite from the reader’s childhood or simply a book from the respective school’s expansive collection.

This marked the fifth year NNSY supported this event at Douglass Park, the second year attending James Hurst, and the first time for Victory.

“Read Across America is an excellent opportunity for us at America’s Shipyard to give back to our community,” said NNSY Outreach Coordinator Valerie Fulwood. “We are helping to mold the minds of the future and it’s a wonderful time for the students and for our volunteers. It’s a fun experience for all and we are so happy we got to expand our reach even further this year with Victory Elementary.”

Many of the shipyard volunteers are also involved with NNSY’s Tutoring and Mentorship Program, an annual effort for the shipyard to engage with local schools in the community.  Several volunteers attend the schools twice a week to aid the students in mathematics and reading.

Shop 67 Angel Eure has been participating in the tutoring program at NNSY for four years. She is the Tutorial Program Champion for James Hurst and is always ready to show her support for the community. “Every week I’m here working with the students and each moment has been special to me," she said. "The kids are so excited to see us and interact with us and seeing them progress throughout the year is amazing. Getting to do these things like Read Across America is wonderful and it helps instill that love of reading in the younger generation.”

This year was a first for Code 2380 Nuclear Engineer Matthew Antonelli. “I felt this is a wonderful thing the shipyard is doing," he said. "We perform work in the community’s backyard and it’s a wonderful experience for us all to participate in. The children loved having us here and we were all sad when it was time for us to go. It’s such a nice feeling to be able to interact with them and get involved. I highly recommend it.”

“Today and this week is all about celebrating literacy in our schools,” said James Hurst Elementary School Principal LaKesia Jolley-Foster. “NNSY has always been so beneficial for us here at James Hurst. It’s so rewarding for our students to be able to see an employee firsthand who spends each day serving our Navy and also taking the time to come to the school and give them that one-on-one interaction. The students really treasure this special time with their tutors and we appreciate the shipyard so much for everything they do. The partnership goes beyond Read Across America and the tutorial program. Anytime we ask, NNSY has always been there to lend a helping hand and we’re so grateful for that.”

To learn more about Read Across America, visit https://www.readacrossamerica.org/.