San Diego School Students Earn ‘Admiral’s Award’


In a packed academic awards assembly in a San Diego school, a Navy leader presented 96 students, grades kindergarten through eighth grade, with awards on May 27.

Rear Adm. James McNeal, commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Global Logistics Support (GLS), had the honor of presenting the inaugural ‘Admiral’s Awards’ to the most deserving students from Golden Hill K -8 School located in San Diego, California.books

The admiral personally bestowed signed certificates of recognition to the students that school officials said embodied compassion and respect for others or who improved their academic performance during the months of March and May. In this kick-off of the monthly Admiral’s Awards program, an assembly of 450 students, teachers, parents and volunteers gathered to celebrate the students’ achievement.

“I am honored to be here today,” McNeal told the group, “We are hearing that the students here are benefitting from our volunteer program at Golden Hill. But, our volunteers are getting as much if not more out of our involvement with the students.”

NAVSUP GLS employee volunteers in attendance were inspired by the academic improvement and positive attitude so many students displayed since NAVSUP GLS first started the community outreach program with the school.

“I have seen an upswing in the kids’ openness since we first started,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Renteria, NAVSUP Reserve Operations. “When they see us, they are happy to see us. They are more comfortable and I receive much more eye contact and interaction with them.”

NAVSUP GLS officially started the Personal Excellence Partnership with Golden Hill School in collaboration with San Diego Unified School District earlier this year on February 9 with a formal signing of a memorandum of understanding between with Vice Principal Susan DeVicariis and Rear Admiral McNeal.

Since then, volunteers from NAVSUP GLS have participated in Family Fridays every third Friday of the month, expanding relationships with Golden Hill K -8 School students through tutoring and mentorship, and assisting with special needs students.

Family Fridays is a Golden Hill program designed to allow parents to participate in their children’s education by interacting with them in the classroom once a month. As part of NAVSUP GLS’ partnership with the school, volunteer Sailors and civilians from the command augment and work with the students whose parents are unable to attend.

One of the primary activities requested by the school on these interactive sessions is to read with students and to listen as students read in small group settings in order to improve the children’s reading comprehension.

The program has been strongly received at both the school and at the command.

“The partnership shows our kids that someone cares about them,” said DeVicariis. “They know that their teachers, families and administrators are rooting for them but they need to see that the workplace is also supporting them. Our partnership is about establishing relationships with kids, helping them to practice their skills and to think about the future. Many of our students have parents in the military and it helps the children know how the extended military family is there for them as well.”

“It’s exciting to see the interest from people from our command. Our volunteers love coming to Golden Hill” said NAVSUP GLS community outreach co-coordinator, Terry Cerami. “On a number of occasions we’ve had Sailors and civilians who are on leave or vacation time show up for Family Fridays.”

This sentiment was echoed by fellow program co-coordinator, Lt. Jeff Morgan. “We started with nine people but now have more than 30 regular volunteers. We expect that number to grow,” said Morgan.

Rear Adm. McNeal started the NAVSUP GLS community service program in February 2015. Besides the Family Fridays and monthly Admiral Awards, at the request of school officials the command will be expanding the Personal Excellence Partnership with the school to include volunteering for physical exercise activities and sports days.

July/August 2015