A new era of education opportunities began in Chinhae as teachers, students, and family members said goodbye to C.T. Joy Elementary School during a closing ceremony at Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC), June 2.
The ceremony commemorated the history of the 57-year-old school and highlighted vast new education opportunities made possible through seven international schools.
"Fifty-seven years ago, the doors of this school opened for the first time with the promise of a quality education and the vision to ‘inspire students to lead and learn to their fullest potential,'" said guest speaker Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Navy Region Korea. "Today, we are closing C.T. Joy but keeping that vision alive by opening up seven international schools, providing new opportunities and state-of-the-art resources."
Ms. Lois Rapp, the director of Student Excellence for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), shared Cooper's belief that the transition would greatly benefit current and future students by providing a unique opportunity not available with a standard DoDEA school program.
"Families in the Chinhae community will now have the option of selecting one of the several international schools; all with different programming and focus areas, which is what makes the opportunity a unique one," said Rapp. "Families can also choose to homeschool their child through the Non-DoD Schools Program as an alternative to the private school option. "
Rapp continued by remarking that Chinhae families will now join a larger worldwide community participating in international schools.
"You [the Chinhae community] will join the approximately 3,600 students' worldwide who have the extraordinary opportunity to attend and engage in international schooling," Rapp said. "While there is nothing like the DoDEA experience, students will make new friends of multi-national backgrounds and gain exposure to new curricula, languages, and courses."
Former C.T. Joy student and current active duty Sailor assigned to CFAC, Information Systems Technician Second Class Calvin Rifareal shared his experience as a student nine years ago.
"We were welcomed with open arms and my attendance at CT Joy was the main reason adjusting to life in Korea was effortless," said Rifareal. "My days as a fighting Sea Turtle set the foundation for me to be the person I am today, and the cherished memories I have [for C.T. Joy] will live on forever."
After C.T. Joy officially closes June 16, students will have the opportunity to attend one of seven international schools in the Chinhae and Busan area or be homeschooled under the Non-DoD Schools Program.
"Today, as we rightfully honor and appreciate our past," said Cooper. "I ask you to join me in looking toward a bright future of education in Chinhae. The future brings new opportunities and new adventures. So I am excited about the future, I hope that you are as well."
C.T Joy Elementary School was named after Adm. Charles Turner Joy who retired from the Navy in 1954 after serving in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.
Located on the southeastern coast of the Republic of Korea, Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae is the only U.S. Navy installation on Asia's mainland, providing service and operational support to the fleet and strengthening the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance.
Commander, U.S. Navy Region Korea provides shore installation management and support to Navy activities throughout the Republic of Korea. CNRK exercises military command over Fleet Activities Chinhae, the only US Navy installation in mainland Asia. For more news from Commander, Navy Region Korea, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnfk.