At Georgetown Elementary students are learning about their heritage and each other as they build a boat from scratch!
At Georgetown Elementary students are learning about their heritage and each other as they build a boat from scratch! The project began three years ago when boat builder Will Ansel offered to design and build a small boat with the students. Ansel spent years working in the boat building industry in Mystic CT. He is 90 years old but remains quite active with this program! During the month of March every year students take a few hours each week to work on the boat. Guided by Ansel and other adult volunteers students measure, cut, plane and drill the wood. The program is very much hands on. When the boat is done the whole town turns out for a launching ceremony at the public boat landing. After that the boat is raffled off and the proceeds go towards materials for next year's boat. The program has been very well received by both students and teachers alike. The students have to be serious about their commitment to building the boat. They also have to make sure that their grades do not fall behind as they devote extra time to the project. Several of the students have ancestors from the Georgetown area. This project has helped the students feel more connected with their cultural heritage as Georgetown is historically a fishing village like so many towns in Maine. Students also have to learn to work together toward a common goal. Teachers say the sense of pride and accomplishment is enormous for their students. Overall this program has been a very positive growing and learning experience.