Norfolk Naval Shipyard holds drive-thru graduation for over 200 graduating apprentices

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Celebrates New Journeymen in Drive-Thru Apprentice Graduation
Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 16:22:33-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) held a “drive-thru” style apprentice graduation Tuesday.

The graduation was held on November 23 at Scott Center Annex in Portsmouth, to celebrate the achievements of the graduates becoming journeymen in their trades.

The Navy's recent COVID-19 guidance limits events to no more than 50 people. In order still celebrate the apprentices' accomplishments, NNSY decided to hold drive-thru graduation.

The 229 graduates, representing 23 trades across the shipyard, have completed a four-year training program, which includes academics, trade theory, and on-the-job experience.

“Congratulations to our graduates,” said Shipyard Commander Capt. Dianna Wolfson. “You are the ones who are going to lead America’s Shipyard and keep our Navy sailing well into the 21st century through the vital skills you bring to our one team in the repair, modernization and inactivation of our warships and training platforms.”

The Apprentice Program Class of 2021 valedictorian was Allyson Cross, a Shop 89 Fabric Worker Mechanic. The 29-year-old Lakeland High School and Old Dominion University graduate finished the NNSY Apprentice Program with a 3.923 GPA, earning her an early promotion.

“I’m so proud of our apprentices who have had to overcome many adversities during our time in the program, including facing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cross. “Many of us had to step into leadership roles to help bridge the gap in our workforce so we could still get the job done on time with first time quality and fulfilling the exceptional standards of our Navy. As we graduate today and take our place as journeymen within America’s Shipyard, I hope we can continue to excel in our roles as well as help mentor the apprentices and mechanics that follow behind us, instilling in them the same determination and integrity we have.”

This year marked the 108th anniversary of NNSY’s Apprentice Program. This is one of the most historic and honored apprentice programs in the nation.