Guam – Sailors and airmen on Guam took time out of their busy days to fill the role as judges at the Upi Elementary School science fair April 19.
Through the military’s community relations program, service members have developed positive partnerships with the various public schools on island.
“I love to work with the kids,” said Airman 1st Class Jacob Rickards, 36th Munitions Squadron. “Kids are pretty much what the future is gonna be so I figure if I can have an impact on it, it would make me feel good about myself at the end of the day.”
The judges interviewed more than 50 students in kindergarten to fifth grade about their science projects.
“It’s a very rewarding experience to see a child’s eyes that they’re actually learning and see that light bulb go off that they have an idea that you think is great,” said Lt. j.g. William Burtek, a pilot with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25.
School officials said integrating service members into the event is beneficial to the students.
“I think it’s really good for the kids so they can see different types of careers that are available to them when they’re older,” said Mary Jane Cruz, a first-grade teacher at the school and the science fair chairperson. “It’s a good diversity for the kids.”
Service members volunteer with schools and non-profit organizations on a regular basis as a means to network with island residents.
“The interaction is really big especially here on Guam,” said Lt. j.g. Burch Thornley, a pilot assigned to HSC-25. “There is such a strong military presence. Being able to interact — military to community — really shows we are all here to support each other and make sure we’re doing good things for the community.”
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/ .