SDUSD Stories: Local Sailors making a difference for Burbank Elementary students

Posted: Wednesday, August 2nd 2017

Deterring armed pirate threats on the open seas. Transporting and launching Harrier jets and Sea Knight helicopters in the fight against ISIS. Delivering excellence and never giving up at... kickball? Yes, the Sailors of the USS Boxer do it all.

The USS Boxer began a partnership with Burbank Elementary School in San Diego during the second half of the 2016-2017 school year, after spending most of 2016 deployed to the Indian Ocean & Persian Gulf. As part of this partnership, U.S. Navy servicemembers from the Boxer have been volunteering to help Burbank students with everything from reading and homework to exercise and games.

Since the inception of the partnership, the Boxer's command has been dedicated to releasing Sailors who would like to volunteer. Every week, Sailors arrive at the school to offer a minimum of 2 hours of their time by committing an hour to an assigned 4th or 5th grade class and an hour with the after school program held on campus. During the time in the classroom, teachers will assign the Sailor volunteer to support students academically. This may involve one-on-one reading time with a student or small group work. 

In addition to academic support, this one hour also provides students with extra adult attention. After the school day ends, those Sailors then spend an hour with the students during Primetime, the after school program. This hour is spent playing various games and sports with the students. The goal is to provide mentorship and positive adult role modeling, all while having a lot of fun!

To wrap up the school year, Burbank Elementary hosts an annual kickball game for the graduating 5th grade class; 5th grade students vs. teachers. Every year, the teachers win the game... but this year, the school invited the USS Boxer crew to join in. Several Sailors happily volunteered to lend their kickball skills to the student team, and the 5th graders were happy to announce that this year - they won! 

To thank the command for their efforts, Burbank Elementary recognized the USS Boxer and their committed Sailors during the 5th grade promotion ceremony. Many Sailors were present to congratulate the students that they had worked with during the semester. The command’s Color Guard graciously was also made available to present Colors for the ceremony.

Delivered through the School Liaison program, Partnerships in Education provides a multilateral influence between commands and schools. Commands can reach out to a School Liaison Officer to discuss the needs of the schools and various ways Sailors can volunteer.

For added background information, the USS Boxer is an amphibious assault ship which plays integral part of the U.S. Navy's combat and humanitarian capabilities worldwide. Famously, the Boxer was involved in the 2009 rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, who had been captured and held hostage by pirates (as seen in the movie Captain Phillips).

What's next? There will be another event set to take place this fall, so stay tuned!


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