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Emory S. Land sailors go back to school

Mountain View Middle School students play on the playground during a visit last month from USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) sailors. - Courtesy photo
Mountain View Middle School students play on the playground during a visit last month from USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) sailors.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

A group of sailors assigned to USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) volunteered at Mountain View Middle School last month to interact with students in a community relations project (COMREL).

The school welcomed eight sailors who sat with students during lunch and also spent time outside with them playing various games.

The event was planned and organized by the Junior Petty Officer Association (JPOA) aboard Emory S. Land. They have visited the school routinely for the past year.

The event was Engineman Third Class (SW) Sabella Batey’s first visit to the school.

“I actually came because I know our ship’s done this COMREL a couple of times, and I’ve heard cool things about it,” Batey said. “So I thought I would check it out.”

Mountain View Middle School has approximately 1,050 students and Batey said she believes it’s important to reach out to as many kids as possible.

“Because a lot of the kids look up to us; this is a Navy town,” she said. “You know most of their parents are probably (in the) military.”

Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class (SW) Ericka Reyna has aspirations of someday becoming a teacher and believes it’s essential for sailors to volunteer.

“(It) just shows a face to the community,” Reyna said. “It just shows that we’re not here doing nothing with our time, (but) that we’re trying to give back to our community.”

Some sailors use the opportunity to speak informally to students about life in the Navy.

“I told them I was in the Navy and they were all interested,” said Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Michael Arias. “They wanted to know more about the Navy and wanted to know more if they had a career in mind.”

School officials said they were impressed with how Arias and other sailors interacted with students.

“That guy, he is really cool,” said Natalie Lewill, a school employee. “He just sat down with the kids.”

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