Truths One Learns for Oneself

Students learning aboard a tall ship discover personal truths of lasting import.

These are things students learn for themselves and, so, are not likely to forget!

After a week aboard these vessels a student is a changed person with a fresh perspective on himself and others.

Unsure of meeting academic standards, insecure about living with strangers and worried that the university environment might prove more of a challenge than he could meet,

one high school senior had been doubtful about attending college.

After living as a student-trainee aboard a square-rigger for a week he was ready to take on the world.

“Man, that first day, all these new people living in those little bunks in that little compartment!

Doin’ homework by flashlight and the watch leader wakin.

us up to furl sails in the rain and yellin stuff like Ballentine those coils after you sheet in the fore!

Man, if I can handle that, college is gonna be cake.”

He is currently finishing his second year at the university with very good grades.

And it is not only the students who learn from the experience.

A biology teacher from the Midwest was struck.

by the quantity of marine life surrounding.

the ship as the students helped secure the mooring lines to a pier along New York’s waterfront.

“I’ve been telling my students that big city harbors are dead seas.

I thought that marine animals were supposed to.

be pretty much extinct in these polluted waters.

I can see now that I’ll have to rewrite my lesson plans,” he said,

laughing as he pulled aboard a bucket of harbor water filled with sea creatures.

The value of the tall ship experience as a venue for teaching the lessons of history and the lessons of life cannot be overrated.

These ships are to sea history what the great medieval cathedrals are to architecture.

helping students to comprehend the value of their maritime heritage.

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