BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — A Lowcountry school is working to expand education beyond the walls of its building.
It’s a project designed to take a little bit of Beaufort on the road, or actually on the water.
It all started with something one Beaufort Middle School teacher watched on tv. A project offering hands-on learning while connecting kids from different backgrounds, and different countries.
The project gives them an important lesson in geography, math and more. And it’s all done with some hard work and one small boat.
“We all decided that it was a great opportunity for us and to connect with another country and share, meet and maybe make connections that would last beyond the classroom,” explains Ann Ritchie, a Beaufort Middle School 6th Grade Teacher.
Ann Ritchie saw a show about Educational Passages. A program that picks schools to create a boat and send it out on the water. The hope is it will make it across the ocean to another school in another country.
Ritchie says one school’s boat made it from Boston to Norway. She decided Beaufort should be next on the list.
The 6th-grade class created the Gryphon Cruiser. Named for the school’s mascot, it’s a small boat with a big purpose—learning.
“Whenever you can get something in the hands of students they are definitely more involved with it and that stays with you as a memory,” said Danny Tighe, 6th grade Math teacher.
The school is one of only 20 nationwide that will build this boat, paint it with some local flavor, honoring the Lowcountry school and its students, and fill it with items from the Lowcountry for whoever may find it. Maps, puzzles, and more to show off our area to other students. They are getting it ready to send it into the water, with the hope it may reach someone “across the pond”.
“The global connection,” says Ritchie. “Having an ocean connects people across and seeing that the other school was excited about finding the boat and they were sailing it. I feel like that is what we are hoping for too.
“It is very interesting and exciting for us and our school to see our school represented in other places,” said Jhayla Ilaire, a 6th-grade student.
But it is not just exciting, it’s educational.
The students will get to track its path every day through the GPS on board the boat. They then get to do the math and see if and when it may reach land.
“So we are going to follow the boat as it goes. We will be able to see the data, the wind speed, the water temperature, and the currents that they are in,” said Jacob Mansker, a Beaufort Middle School 6th grader.
“We get to do all kinds of fun things with the school and graph where it goes and I haven’t really done that before. With boats I normally have just seen them or rode on them,” said Ethan Emerich, a 6th Grader.
This ride they will take online, with the hope the boat reaches students in a far away land who want to say hi.
The boat will not set sail from shore but be taken by boat 75 miles out in the water to the Gulfstream to give it a better chance of making it somewhere.
The Captain of Salt Fin Charters will take the Gryphon Cruiser to the water next week.
It could take a year or more to reach some destination.
When it launches we will tell you exactly how to track it yourself.
If you would like to see the paths of some of the other boats launched from other United States schools: