Twelve Sailors from the USS Halyburton (FFG 40) carried out a community relations project March 19 at Sandy Bay Public School in Roatan, beautifying the property and arranging a online class with students in North Carolina.
With help from Sandy Bay’s ninth-grade students, the Sailors planted 18 Christmas palm trees on the property and cleaned the Sandy Bay beachfront behind the school campus.
Digging holes for the trees was harder than the Sailors expected because the soil was hard clay with large rocks, said Chief Logistics Specialist Leketa Gaines, of Lorman, Miss.
“When the post-hole digger hit the ground, it caused sparks, and when we thought we were getting somewhere, the blades of the post-hole digger actually started bending inward,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Poliakoff Deliazard, of Miami.
Despite the difficulty, the Sailors and students enjoyed themselves.
“The interaction with the youth was incredible,” Deliazard said. “Even a van of tourists stopped to ask about the project.”
Lt. Tom Bingol, Halyburton’s chaplain, coordinated with Rosa Danelia Hendrix, Sandy Bay’s sub-principal, to execute a “virtual intercultural exchange experience” via Skype with students from Porter Ridge Elementary School in Indian Trail, N.C.
The students exchanged greetings in English and Spanish, sang the national song of Honduras, and answered one another’s questions for nearly an hour. The questions ranged from the weather to the need to split the school day to accommodate all of the children in the Sandy Bay area who wish to attend class.
It was the first technology-driven “intercambio,” or intercultural exchange of its kind, for any Bay Island school in Honduras, Hendrix said.
The Porter Ridge principal, Lisa Taylor, moderated the discussion in North Carolina.
The Naval Station Mayport-based Halyburton is deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to conduct counter illicit trafficking operations.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.