I just have to start by saying that this, THIS story is the kind of news I wish we had more often. And the program these students were lucky enough to be part of, well, there should be programs like this in every school.
For several years, the students in teacher Bob Meade's wood shop class have been building a boat. Not just any boat though. They have been constructing a thirty foot long Viking vessel known as a "knarr", complete with shields on the sides, oars for ten, space for ten to fifteen passengers, and yes, she was planked in the traditional "clinker-built" manner.
On Friday, May 20th, the boat was ready for launch.
Here's an article which gives some of the details:
An earlier article includes the words "No Other School Has This"
The boat was launched in Huntington Harbour - home of Sunset Gondola,
and the waterway where the 2013 US Gondola Nationals took place.
Why did they choose a Viking knarr?
It turns out that the mascot of Marina High School is the Viking.
There's even been talk of trailering the boat around the field during football games. What a great thing for a bunch of wood shop kids to be able to point at and say "we built that".
As I was reading about the students who built the boat,
several quotes stood out.
They talked about how it was the only class they looked forward to.
One guy said it was "the only class he was getting a good grade in!"
And then I read the words that I understood all too well:
"We're not good at sitting down".
I know exactly what that's like, because I WAS that kid (still am, actually).
And this is why I believe we should have programs like this in all schools.
There are those of us who prefer to be out of our chairs and doing things.
Maybe not all shop classes need to build Viking ships.
Perhaps they could build water slides,
restore old Corvettes (yes, I saw that movie),
or learn how airplane engines work.
All I know is that not every young man does well sitting and listening to lectures.
Bob Meade knows this, and as of today, he is one of my new heroes.