By Dialogo January 17, 2012 A rural school in Puerto San José, Guatemala, hosted a recognition ceremony to honor the Seabees, U.S. Marines and Guatemalan Military construction specialists on January 11. The ceremony was held in appreciation of the completion of a 12-day construction project as part of High Speed Vessel-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12). “I would like to thank all the people involved, especially SPS-12 on behalf of the children in this community,” said Byron E. Anavisca Sandoval, community president. “We are looking forward to this year because our children will get to enjoy the rewards of education because of the work done here.” The project was led by project manager, Marine Staff Sgt. Mario Vargas, whose family emigrated from Guatemala to the U.S. The team of two Marines, 18 Seabees and 12 Guatemalan Military construction specialists demolished and replaced the school and bathroom roofs and installed more than 300 feet of fencing and security wire. “My father and family are from Guatemala and it has been an especially great experience for me,” said Vargas. “I put everything in my heart into this school so the children here are able to learn as my children are able to learn.” The team also replaced the school’s water purification system and painted the facility. The improvements will allow the school to reopen after a flood forced its closure last year. More than 70 people, including the school’s parents, teachers, and children, as well as the Seabees, Swift service members, and representatives from the Guatemalan Pacific Naval Base attended the ceremony. “When I was a student, I remember sailors coming and doing what they are doing here,” said Guatemalan Pacific Naval Base Captain Carlos Luis Sanchez. “To the children of public schools, this will give you the opportunity it gave me. Because of this, you will be able to reach your dreams.” This is the first of two construction projects in Guatemala, where the Seabees and Marines have been working closely with Guatemalan partners to renovate local schools.