Anchors aweigh! Youngsters set sail on East River in boats made by hand - Brooklyn Paper

Anchors aweigh! Youngsters set sail on East River in boats made by hand

Skipper: Kayla is ready to take on the waters with the sailboat she and her friends built with Brooklyn Boatworks.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

These kiddie captains charted a course for success!

Students from classrooms across the borough launched self-made sailboats into the East River from Brooklyn Bridge Park last week, culminating the end of an eight-month ship-building course that taught the youngsters the value of a hard day’s work, according to its director.

“It was one of the most joyous experiences of the year for them, because they got to see the accomplishment of having built something with their own hands,” said Brooklyn Boatworks bigwig Marjorie Schulman.

The student skippers who set sail on June 12 hailed from four Kings County schools — East New York’s PS 306 and JHS 292; Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Madiba Prep Middle School; and Crown Heights’s Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School, where kids recently staged an authorized walkout against gun violence — as well as from three others in outer boroughs.

And the program — for which Brooklyn Boatworks leaders provided wood and instructions on how to follow blueprints and use tools — taught the kids more than the importance of a little elbow grease.

Participants dove into topics that included lessons on city’s maritime history and Brooklyn’s native marine life, according to Shulman, who said they also learned important skills such as leadership, perseverance, and teamwork, all of which will serve them well in — and out — of the classroom.

“These are qualities that will help everyone succeed academically, as well as in life beyond the school day,” she said.

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