Nantucket Students Race Their Cardboard Boats
By Michelle Cartwright Soverino
On Wednesday, October 24 at 8:30am, Egan Maritime’s eighth grade Cyrus Peirce Middle School (CPS) Oceanography and Maritime Studies students began their day at Children’s Beach to race cardboard boats they designed and built working in small teams. The cardboard boat race is an exciting event and a great opportunity for the community to support our local students and their experiential learning projects.
This school year the CPS eighth grade class is the largest on record with 137 students. Taught by Dr. Amanda Knight Bardsley, she begins each new academic year with the Design, Build, and Race your own Cardboard Boat project. Speaking with Dr. Bardsley she said, “All eighth graders in Nantucket Public Schools are enrolled in Oceanography and Maritime Studies. This experiential course makes island life relevant by emphasizing Nantucket’s maritime history, vocations, and sciences. We start with a narrow focus on how water moves on and around our island, and then expand our scope outward by learning about air and water currents.”
The first unit in Dr. Bardsley’s classroom is How did we learn to navigate the Earth? Incorporated into this unit is the Design, Build, and Race Your Own Cardboard Boat project. Students work in groups to design and craft a boat that will finish the short race at Children’s Beach using only cardboard, duct tape, and wood glue. Not only has the project become a favorite for parents, teachers, and Egan Maritime, but for the students, as well. It is a great start to the school year and provides students the opportunity to work alongside their peers with a shared goal, which is a big part of the Oceanography and Maritime Studies classroom.
Egan Maritime’s leadership is dedicated to providing maritime education for island youth. Maryann Hedaa, Egan Maritime Trustee and Chair of the Sea of Opportunities Maritime Education Program remarked, “The Board believes deeply in our Mission ‘to inspire the appreciation and preservation of Nantucket’s maritime culture and legacy.’ The Sea of Opportunities Program is our commitment to a living mission statement that focuses on maritime education experiences for the young people who grow up on Nantucket.” She continued, “We believe maritime education is a tool to help young Nantucketers work together, to understand and respect their island environment, to motivate them to think of maritime careers and service opportunities and above all to offer students an opportunity to test their curiosity and courage by branching out and trying new things. It is our hope that they develop a deep respect and sense of stewardship for the environment and the perseverance it takes to finish maritime projects that are both challenging and require teamwork.”
The Design, Build, and Race Your Own Cardboard Boat project would not be possible without the help of many Nantucket businesses and individuals who volunteer space, time, and tools. With warm regards Egan Maritime would like to thank Toby Brown; Kris Dagesse; Cape Cod Express, Michael Fee; Eric Finger; Great Harbor Yacht Club; Island Kitchen; Sheila Lucey, Harbor Master; Marine Home Center; Joe Perry, Nantucket Public Schools; Reis Trucking; Nantucket Community Sailing; John Schafer; United States Coast Guard Station Brant Point; Mark Voight, Parks and Rec.; Nate Waig; Strong Wings, and the eighth grade teaching team: Michael Carney; Chip Davis; Susan Haford; Tandi Harimon; Mykala Hedberg-Seitz; Karin MacLellan; Jason Mleczko; Kathryn Norton; and Tim Psaradelis.
Egan Maritime is also proud to thank our members and patrons. Their loyal financial support ensures Nantucket students at all island public and private schools have access to maritime education lessons and projects. They ensure a vibrant future for the island's coastal community by investing in Nantucket's youth and expanding their horizons through hands-on learning and on-the-water experiences.