Meridian Star

June 15, 2013

Sailor earns prestigious Stennis Award

By Penny Randall / NAS Meridian Public Affairs
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A sailor at Naval Technical Training Center Meridian was honored Friday for her superior achievement during graduation ceremonies at NAS Meridian.

    Arjen Lagendijk, president of the Mississippi Council of the Navy League, presented the prestigious Stennis Award to Ship Serviceman Seaman Courtney Cummings. A native of Portsmouth, Va., Cummings has an overall GPA of 99.36.

    “I’m excited to receive this honor,” Cummings said. “I didn’t see it coming. I want to thank my instructors who helped me get this far. It makes it easier when you have instructors that you can go to, ask questions and feel like they care. I’m ready to get my Navy career started.”

    Cummings, who is transferring to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) which is home ported in Norfolk, Va., is only the third sailor to receive this honor in the past 2? years.

    "NTTC graduates approximately 2,600 sailors per year," said Cmdr. Brett St. George, commanding officer of NTTC. “Seaman Cummings embodies the type of Sailor we want to produce at NTTC. I look forward to following her Navy career. I know she is going to do great things.”

    The basic requirements to earn the Stennis Award include:

    - Graduate with the top one or two GPA when compared with all graduates in the past 12 months.

    - Complete more than two SHIPMATES (Students Helping Interesting People in the Meridian Area Through Enthusiastic Service) projects comprising five or more total hours.  

    -Meet all requirements for honor graduate and Accelerated Advancement Program candidacy.  An HG is a student in the top 5 percent of the graduating class; and an AAP student is in the top 10 percent.

    -Have the recommendation and endorsement of the course supervisor and fleet leader/administrator.

    During her time at NTTC, Seaman Cummings participated in SHIPMATES projects at Relay for Life and LOVE’s Kitchen.

    Cummings, 24, has a start on her education. She holds an associate’s degree in business administration and is looking forward to earning her bachelor’s degree in accounting.

    It’s more of family pride for Cummings. She wants to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and achieve the rank of at least chief petty officer.

    The award is named after the late senator from Mississippi, the Honorable John C. Stennis, who was instrumental in bringing the air station to Meridian in 1961.