Hands from all over the world came together to lend themselves towards a major sprucing up of the Warren-Prescott School and grounds on Tuesday – officially known in the neighborhood as Navy Day.
Some 72 members of the Navy volunteer crew and scores of parents, teachers, neighbors, students and former students braved the heat on Tuesday to provide some much needed sprucing up of the school grounds in anticipation of the first day of school on Sept. 8.
Volunteer coordinator Tina Champagne, of Charlestown, said she has been coordinating the clean up for several years, previously working with a partner to pull it off.
“I grew up across the street and went to kindergarten here,” said Champagne. “This is so important to keeping the neighborhood looking nice and all the neighbors help, either by coming out or donating. The people are amazing. It’s a community effort and having the Navy here is unbelievable. They do a lot of things very quickly that would take us much longer to complete. They have literally come from all over the world to help us.”
And that is exactly the case.
Some of the Navy members on site said that members of the clean up crew had travelled from as far away as Japan and Sicily to be there for the clean up. Others had come from Jacksonville, FL, or Portsmouth, VA. All were staying at the USS Constitution and had marched up the street from the Navy Yard to the school right before lunch on Tuesday.
The worldwide effort is part of Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Heritage Month, where members of the Navy who have become chiefs or are in line to be promoted to chief find community projects to “give back,” so they can honor the heritage of their post.
Principal Michele Davis said they are doing jobs that would take the much smaller custodial staff days to complete. Some of the jobs include setting up classrooms, removing trash, whipping weeds, painting, weeding the Learning Garden and beautifying the landscape around the school.
“These men and women have come from all over the world to help us, and together with the community members that have come or donated, we can get so much done,” said Davis. “Today we’re doing weed eating, cleaning up the outside and setting up classrooms. A lot of these things we couldn’t do without them. For example, we have a n
ew K1 classroom at Warren-Prescott this year. We had to convert an art room into a classroom quickly. All of the furniture was delivered, but if we didn’t have people like this to move it, things would be much more difficult.”
The program for the Navy is a worldwide effort, but the effort at the Warren-Prescott has been ongoing for about eight or nine years.
“I think it’s just a great way to connect to the community,” said Champagne. “Working on the school and making it look nicer helps us with our neighborhood, it makes the students proud of their school and hopefully it will help everyone take this effort to heart and help improve the greater neighborhood of Charlestown.”