Courtesy Navy NewsStand.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maebel Ysog Tinoko, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

POULSBO, Wash. (NNS) — Sailors assigned to USS Kentucky (Blue) (SSBN 737) attended a Personal Excellence through Cooperative Education (PECE) awards ceremony held at Vinland Elementary School in Poulsbo, Wash., June 18.

Command Master Chief (SS) Bill Mast, chief of the boat and Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Jeremy Shaw, leading chief petty officer of Auxillary Division, were special guests at the ceremony and gave two top students a ‘Sailing into the Future’ award.Abigail Vegkley and Grant Nausid-Nichols both received a $100 savings bond certificate along with a USS Kentucky photo memorabilia and a plaque for their achievement. Abigail and Grant were selected by the school staff based on criteria for good sportsmanship, citizenship, volunteer work and their contributions to the community.

“I feel honored to be part of this ceremony, and its great to recognize the students who do their best and recognize the teachers who help shape the children of our future,” said Mast. “Through the Navy’s PECE program we get to be involved with our community and help mold students for the nation’s future. The partnerships we have with local schools show students and the staff what the Navy is all about.”

The PECE program’s goal is to actively pursue partnerships between U.S. Navy commands and local school districts to strengthen education, fitness and citizenship to American youth throughout Navy Region Northwest.

“The PECE program’s great because it gives Sailors a chance to stay in touch with our community,” said Shaw. “Our command is always willing to help out in anyway we can, and I enjoy being able to give back to the community.”

Many commands in the Northwest region have at least one school assigned to them where Sailors volunteer their personal time to students providing tutoring, guest speaking, mentorship, field trips or any other area of learning they can provide. Kentucky Sailors are partnered with Vinland Elementary School and Fairview Junior High in Bremerton, Wash.

“The Sailors do a lot for our school and our students,” said Debbie Jo Rock, Vinland Elementary School librarian. “Many of our students are part of military families, and there is a big connection between the students and the service members. They are great role models to the students, and it benefits the whole community.”

For more news from Naval Base Kitsap, visit www.navy.mil/local/kitsap/.

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