One of the most rewarding parts of this program for participants and teachers is the annual boat launch at the culmination of the program. As the seasons change, we reflect on our accomplishments this year.
The students of Biddeford High School and the Alternative Pathways Program, constructed a total of six small wooden sea worthy vessels this past school year thanks to Engine’s Compass Program’s manager and teaching artist Mx. Desper. This program engages the students in a multitude of disciplines throughout the year, both academically and creatively, to demonstrate and connect the students with an application of their gained skills from 9+ years of schooling.
A truly en-compass-ing program, not only are the youth exposed to the wonders of the Maine craft of boat building, they are also engaged in woodworking projects of their own design. These personal projects not only become a great test of personal endurance in the face of a new challenge, but also provide the youth with a chance to manage their own time, and gauge their own skills- a necessary skill on any life path.
By May, 31st the students had selected four of the vessels to be launched, and with the steadfast commitment of Sean Fawcett and Susan Swanton of The Landing School, they were able to get the boats to the to launch on the Saco River at Rotary Park.
Students were surprised by a beautifully constructed Town Class sail boats that the Landing School brought down as an example of where these students can take this skill in the future – a path of excitement, adventure, and future security for some. With the guidance of Mx. Desper and Sean Fawcett, the students were able to take turns rowing their vessels in the historic Saco River.
One of our students in reflecting about the experience shared that “I felt very proud of myself since I never been on a boat before and my first experience on a boat was built by me.” Check out this compilation video capturing scenes from the launch!
For more information about the Compass Program or The Landing School visit their website. Sean Fawcett is the President at The Landing School, and Susan Swanton is the Chair of the Board at the Landing School.