USS Bonhomme Richard Sailors Partner with Local Elementary School for Read Across America

by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd CLass Zachary C. Bender
09 March 2020

Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated the 23rd annual Read Across America (RAA) Day by reading to students at a local elementary school, March 6, in National City, California.

Capt. G. S. Thoroman, commanding officer, and Command Master Chief Joe Hernandez, read to students of Lincoln Acres Elementary School during the event.

RAA is an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association that began in 1997. The observance is held each March, around the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

“We, USS Bonhomme Richard, are helping sponsor Lincoln Acres elementary school,” said Thoroman. “It’s part of our continued effort in giving back to the school.”

The command signed a “Partner-Ship” agreement with Raymond Ruiz, the school’s principle, last school year. Since then, Sailors volunteer weekly to spend time with students in their classes, help with school work, answer questions, eat lunch and participate in recess time on the school’s playground.

“It’s a great celebration here at Lincoln Acres with Read Across America,” said Nancy Esquivel, a kindergarten-first grade bilingual teacher; “and we want to thank everyone who participates and who make this an event that everyone at Lincoln Acres enjoys!”

Bonhomme Richard’s relationship with Lincoln Acres makes it possible for Sailors to give back to the community and serve as mentors.

“Read Across America is important to us because we are exposing kids to books and literacy and the importance of reading,” said Esquivel. “My hope is that all of my students eventually become passionate about reading.”

Thoroman and Hernandez represented the ship and its crew as they read to classrooms of kindergarteners and second graders.

“My hope is that I shared a good story,” said Thoroman, “and that the kids got to see some Sailors giving back.”

Lincoln Acres teaches more than 500 students, K-6, daily. The volunteers visit the four classes weekly, working with students on class assignments. Because there are more members of the ship’s crew willing to volunteer than there are classes to visit, they are rotated on a weekly basis to give the students a variety of personalities to work with, and all of the Sailors interested in volunteering, a chance to participate.

Bonhomme Richard is in its homeport of San Diego.


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