Class Afloat: Concordia Sails the World
Fall, Winter, Spring, 1994-95
With support from the American Sail Advancement Program (ASAP), we began the Class Afloat program.
Class Afloat is a Canadian based organization, a program offered by West Island College, a preparatory high school in Montreal. They operate the three-masted sailing ship Concordia and teach a regular high school curriculum on board. The ship circumnavigates, stopping in 30-40 ports so the students can visit and experience these places.
Through our Ocean Challenge linkages, in the manner of the Newspaper in Education program, and an online forum, we could let students on land share in the adventures of the students on board. They could, in fact, journey around the world through the eyes and experiences of the Concordia students.
We expanded on our network of NIE programs from our GA2 project, from 12 Newspapers to 24 Newspapers, and again produced a Teacher's Guide, with lesson plans and team projects. We had 2500 teachers participating, and reached 15 million readers each week for our 18 part series of articles written by Concordia's students. Instead of students onshore talking to expert sailors offshore, as in our other programs previously, they were communicating with, in fact, upper classmen, and a kind of mentorship could ensue.
We also instituted an online forum on the Delphi Internet Services. Toward the end of the program, re-reading the hundreds of Journals and Q&A, it was if you were recreating the entire journey around the world - it was amazing!
And for the students onboard, when they took aboard a group of 6 student contest-winners in Durban, South Africa for the leg to Cape Town, South Africa, they could begin to see the impact that they were having on the students onshore who were following them. They began to feel the responsibility that went with their unique and marvelous opportunity.
Arriving finally in Boston, 1500 students from Hartford and Boston turned out to greet them as returning heroes. Concordia's students were taken aback by the acclaim, but again, it hit home what a unique opportunity they had had, and how much numerous students on land had been interested in what they were doing.
At the conclusion of the program and journey, we and Terry Davies, President of Class Afloat, agreed to produce the program again in 1995-96, as Concordia would once again head out to circumnavigate the globe.
Ocean Challenge / OceanChallenge.com