Pax, local school educators reinforce relationship at PEP kickoff

NAS Patuxent River leadership and school administrators reinforced their partnership to help St. Mary’s and Calvert County students reach their full potential at the Personal Excellence Partnership kick-off Sept. 23.

NAS Patuxent River leadership and Southern Maryland school administrators kicked-off this year’s Personal Excellence Partnership (PEP) program at the Frank Knox Building Sept. 23.

The PEP program utilizes Pax River personnel as volunteers to tutor, mentor, offer technical expertise and to serve as positive role models for St. Mary’s and Calvert County students.

During the event, Capt. Christopher Cox, Pax River’s commanding officer, presented representatives from local schools with certificates recognizing their schools “have established a Personal Excellence Partnership and have pledged to work together to improve the education, fitness, and citizenship of all students, and promote school/community relations.”

“The ceremony is designed to renew the partnership between the naval air station and the schools,” said Dawn Simpson, Pax River’s school liaison officer, and one of the event’s organizers. “PEP assists in developing our youth to their fullest potential in the areas of academic achievement, healthy lifestyles and civic responsibility.”

During the 2018-2019 school year, 650 volunteers from Pax River logged nearly 4500 hours for a community of more than 35,000 elementary, middle and high school students in various public, private and parochial schools in the Southern Maryland region. Volunteer efforts included individual mentoring and tutoring services; Lunch Bunch sessions where students are joined for lunch and recess; Career Day presentations; Future Leaders of the World program; Project Graduation; Read Across America; book fairs; tours of the installation; STEM activities, where volunteers engage in various workshops; grounds clean-up programs; and many other individual and group initiatives.

Created in November 1992 by then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Frank B. Kelso, the PEP program is one of five Navy Flagship Projects, the other four being Project Good Neighbor; Campaign Drug Free; Health Safety and Fitness; and Environmental Stewardship.

Pax River’s talented personnel strive to boost student achievement and self-esteem by helping them reach personal goals.

Through the partnership, every effort is made to enhance the quality of education and help develop today’s youth in to tomorrow’s leaders and outstanding citizens,” Simpson noted.