Petty Officer 3rd Class Hagen Ward re-enacts a battle scene from the USS Constitution with the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas Feb. 19. San Antonio is one of select cities to host a 2018 Navy Week, a week dedicated to raise U.S. Navy awareness through local outreach, community service and exhibitions. (Photo by Seaman Tiana Coots)
"Shall I board her, sir?" Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Brennan assists in the recreation of the USS Constitution verses HMS Guerriere battle Feb. 21. San Antonio is one of select cities to host a 2018 Navy Week, a week dedicated to raise U.S. Navy awareness through local outreach, community service and exhibitions. (Photo by Seaman Tiana Coots)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Throughout the span of five days, USS Constitution Sailors reached out to more than 1,000 students in Texas during San Antonio Navy Week, Feb. 19-24.
Constitution Sailors interacted with students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Old Ironsides' Sailors gave their presentations in the schools' gymnasiums, classrooms and auditoriums, and students were able to see visual representations of the ship and how it was constructed and operated in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-based presentation.
"The students were incredibly engaged," said Seaman Ashley Watson, a Constitution Sailor. "It was rewarding to see them interact with us and learn history in such a fun way. They seemed to really enjoy it."
The audiences ranged from smaller, intimate groups to more than 100 students at a time. The kids were encouraged to ask questions at the end of presentations and many came up to Sailors afterward to ask Old Ironsides' crew, as well as to hold the sword brought along for story telling.
"We already went over the War of 1812 in school and to have the Crew of USS Constitution come in and speak has been an amazing experience for the students," said James King, a teacher at Young Men's Leadership Academy, a school visited by the crew. "I'm sure if you go upstairs to the students history and science classrooms the they're saying 'Hey! Guess what I've seen and learned today!'."
Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment, and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America's Navy closer to the people it protects, in cities that don't have a large naval presence.
USS Constitution Sailors also visited the University of Texas at San Antonio, Girl Genius Tutoring Program-Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, and San Antonio Children's Hospital as a part of their San Antonio Navy Week schedule.
The Sailors spent two hours with young children at the hospital. Old Ironsides' crew enjoyed playing games with the kids, painting, explaining pieces of their 1813 Sailor uniform and educating them about the ship's legendary history.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to come represent USS Constitution at Navy Weeks and interact with the public," Watson said. "It's rewarding to connect the Navy's history with our current mission and future endeavors."
USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, actively defended sea-lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. USS Constitution is scheduled to be dry docked in Charlestown Navy Yard in May 2015 for a three-year planned restoration period.
For more news and information on USS Constitution, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/constitution or http://www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial.
For more news from USS Constitution, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/constitution/.