USS America CPO Association awards scholarship to E. J. King senior

by Petty Officer 1st Class Taylor Jackson
15 May 2021 SASEBO, Japan – The Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA) aboard USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, presented a scholarship check to a student at E. J. King High School here, May 11.
America’s Command Master Chief Randy Bell presented a check for $2,000 to Halle-Mari Santiago during an award ceremony at the high school. Santiago, who is the valedictorian for the class of 2021, was selected for the scholarship by a panel of America’s CPOs.
“I am very pleased and proud of the fact that the USS America Chief Petty Officers Association was able to award a well-deserving student a scholarship towards their higher education,” said Bell. “It is my intent that the USS America CPOA Scholarship grow in popularity and size enabling us to award even larger amounts of money in years to come.”
The criteria for selection consisted of the student’s overall GPA and a video essay pertaining to the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.
“I was surprised and excited to find out I got the scholarship,” said Santiago. “I’m really thankful for the extra money toward my future classes.”
America CPOs hosted multiple fundraiser events throughout the year to support the scholarship. Bell gave thanks to the crew for supporting these events and making the opportunity possible. He went on to thank the staff of E. J. King for the opportunity to give back to the Sasebo community.
“I must say how impressed I am with the Chiefs aboard America and the faculty of E. J. King High School in their ability to work together given all the COVID constraints and find a way to make this happen,” said Bell. He added that he hopes to see other commands on the waterfront create their own scholarship programs.
Established in 2003 for grades 7 to 12, E. J. King is the Department of Defense Education Activity high school serving Sailors and families forward-deployed to Sasebo.
America, lead ship of the America Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
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