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AGAT, Guam — Dozens of Marines and sailors, part of a four-ship convoy anchored off Guam for a port call, devoted free time earlier this week to a community-service project at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, helping refurbish the Catholic elementary institution by repainting worn classrooms.

Another group aided clean-up efforts at the Carmelite Monastery in Malojloj.

The USS Peleliu, USS Germantown, USS Ogden and USS Jarrett are headed back to their home base in San Diego following a tour in the Middle East, according to Navy officials on Guam.

About 30 servicemembers from the warships turned out Monday at the school with paint brushes and scrapers in hand, said Sister Regina Paulino, Mount Carmel’s principal. Another 25 came back Tuesday.

“We really are grateful,” she said. “We didn’t expect it. What they did (Monday and Tuesday), I don’t think we could’ve done that amount of work over the summer.”

She said the military volunteers were treated to a Chamorro-style, fiesta lunch both days, consisting of steak kelaguen, potato salad, barbecue and red rice sprinkled with finadene. The school staff also gave them T-shirts from Mount Carmel and its institutional affiliate, Notre Dame High School, as well as certificates of appreciation.

On Tuesday, students in grades 5-8 from the school’s xylophone ensemble entertained the servicemembers during lunch.

Mount Carmel School was nearly shut down a year ago because of declining enrollment, Paulino said, but there’s been a resurgence since September and its future appears much brighter.

The volunteers’ visit merely adds to that outlook, she added.

“It was a great success, and we are really grateful,” said Paulino. “The teachers are having our students write notes of thanks to them.”

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