Students learn about sailing aboard Roseway
Published: March 15, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - For an island that supports a $40 million marine industry, the local populace represents a very low percentage of that workforce.
So when the Roseway - an 88-year-old schooner that is a national historic landmark - comes to the territory, local students are afforded an opportunity to learn about sailing and marine ecology while cruising the high seas around the territory in an open-air classroom.
That was the case for about 20 students from Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School on St. Thomas, who gathered at Yacht Haven Grande to board the elegant ship.
Before boarding, the students participated in various team-building exercises, designed to help the kids gain self-confidence and get used to the idea of working together.
Once aboard the Roseway, the kids were quickly put to work, helping to raise the boat's sail.
The ship's crew then put the students into smaller groups and conducted learning workshops about the ship's mechanics, the process of setting sail, navigation, water quality and coral life.
The Roseway crew also stressed the importance of preserving the island's beauty.
For many students, the trip's highlight was the opportunity to climb onto the edge of the schooner's bow.
"It was a good experience. I want to climb up on the bow and jump off next time," said eight-grader Mariamma Richards.
As the boat completed its three-hour voyage around St. Thomas, many Boschulte students were excited about their time aboard and eager to explore potential careers in the marine industry.
"I am so happy for the opportunity to have our kids exposed before they get to high school," said Boschulte vice-principal Cheryl Lewis-Cooper.
The Roseway is owned by the World Ocean School - a nonprofit group that focuses on offering educational programs aboard the schooner.
Prior to its arrival on St. Thomas, the ship had been on St. Croix for three months. In addition to spending the winter months in the Virgin Islands - the Roseway's home port is Boston - the ship also conducts similar student programs in Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.
The Roseway has been operating in the Virgin Islands since 2006, according to Capt. Thomas Ryan.
"When we got down here, we just felt like there was a tremendous need for an outlet like this," said Ryan, who said he was surprised by the local population's lack of marine-knowledge.
"They live on the water. They should know their resources," he said.
After conducting the classes on the sea for students in both districts in the USVI, the Roseway ends its stay in the territory this week.