NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Feb. 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) hosted commencement exercises Saturday for the company's Apprentice School located at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). The graduation, held at Liberty Baptist Church Worship Center in Hampton, celebrated the achievements of 206 apprentices representing 21 trades.
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Retired Navy Adm. Tim Keating served as the commencement speaker and shared some of his personal experiences with NNS-built aircraft carriers and submarines and their impact on national security. "Think of the difference you have made over decades of good, honest hard work," he said to the graduates. He later went on to tell the newest generation of shipbuilders, "You are our secret weapon. No one else has you guys."Fifty-six apprentices completed an optional, advanced program (advanced shipyard operations, cost estimator, modeling and simulation program analyst, nuclear test technician or production planner). Forty-seven apprentices earned honors, and 13 apprentices earned high honors under the new honors program that combines academic and craft grades to determine overall performance. Athletic awards were presented to 22 apprentices, and 10 apprentices completed their required academics with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Micah Terrell Meeks received the Homer L. Ferguson Award for earning the highest grade point average in combined required academics and crafts. He, too, reflected on the importance of shipbuilding.