USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) made the trek to Palm Desert, Calif., Oct. 28 to adopt Desert Sands Unified School District's (DSUSD) newest school as part of the Navy's Triangular Adoption program.
The Triangular Adoption program is based on the Navy Community Service program's "Partnership in Education." It involves a ship, a school and a city. There are currently four active partnerships in the area.
Ronald Reagan's adoption of this school is slightly different from other adoptions.
DSUSD built a new, unnamed school building. George Washington Charter School will occupy the building for 18 months while their building undergoes renovations. During that time, Reagan will sponsor them. When George Washington Charter School moves back into its newly-renovated building, the late President's namesake will adopt the new school. A new ship will then adopt George Washington Charter School.
DSUSD is requesting to name the new school "Ronald Reagan Elementary," in keeping with its tradition of naming elementary schools after U.S. presidents, according to DSUSD's information brochure.
"I'm looking forward to naming the new school Ronald Reagan Elementary," said Gary Tomak, trustee, Palm Desert Board of Education. "It's such a natural fit."
The Ronald Reagan adoption ceremony was the beginning of a chain of events scheduled to take place between the ship, DSUSD and the city of Desert Sands. Sailors will take a trip to Desert Sands' newest school to visit students, and children will take a tour of Reagan later this year.
"Ronald Reagan Sailors take pride in their ship, and we love to show it off. I can't wait for the children to come see the ship," said Lt. Jack Miller, Combat Direction Center officer. "It's going to be very rewarding to visit the school, too. Sailors will be showing their faces to a community with no military."
All three Triangular Adoption program representatives are trying to arrange activities for the children, to include pen pals with Sailors and ship tracking.
"This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for the kids to meet their heroes. They see USS Ronald Reagan and its Sailors on TV all the time," said Allen Lehmann, George Washington Charter School principal. "The tour of the ship later this year is going to be a great experience for the kids."
DSUSD Superintendent Dr. Doris Wilson said she was excited about the students being exposed to the positive influence of Reagan Sailors.
"My goal for this partnership is for students to have their positive values, like teamwork, responsibility, loyalty and patriotism reinforced. They will be able to see those values in the Sailors who visit the school," said Wilson. "I know these programs require a little more work on the part of the Sailors, but I think they'll be rewarded by the smiles of the autograph-seeking children they get to meet."
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.