Berwick Academy students learn the art of boat building


    BERWICK (WGME) -- The boating season in Maine is still a few months away, but that's not stopping students at a school in York County from getting their feet wet.

    Students at Berwick Academy are learning to build a boat building as part of their STEM education.

    Once a week around a dozen students drill, saw, measure, sand, and learn how to make a something from start to finish that can actually be used by the public.

    "We're talking about collaboration, delegation, large scale project management and I wanted to do something where we could bring in local experts, capitalize on our proximity to the ocean and build a boat,” Director of Innovation at Berwick Academy Darcy Koffta said.

    Bill Thomas is the volunteer teacher and says the enthusiasm has been overwhelming.

    "I'm not sure how many of the kids I’ve worked with are going to be boatbuilders or master carpenters, but it's going to reflect their understanding and appreciation and that's important too,” Thomas said.

    For the middle school students, this program is kind of an escape from the traditional classroom.

    "In English class it's more talking, this is more doing. It's just been so fun. I love it,” Berwick Academy seventh grader Gavin Schlosse said.

    The class is boat building, but for some of the students, it's about a lot more than just that.

    "I mean it's more like a friendship building thing too because if they don't know something you can help them and it will really be good because you'll appreciate it and they will too." Berwick Academy student Ava Rahn said.

    After the 12-week course is over, the boat is actually tested in the water and then auctioned off to help raise money for Berwick Academy.

    "We're providing students opportunities that they might not otherwise have. We're enriching their school day. They are actively doing something that is going to make a difference,” Koffta said.

    The boat will be launched March 23 and then auctioned off at the school's annual fundraising event.

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