Students from New Bedford High School’s marine construction program on June 4 launched the boat they constructed in the city’s south end. Dubbed Whaler 1, the boat was built in the school’s transportation laboratory by Career Vocational students and painted by students in the Visual Design program and Art Club. The program is a joint initiative of New Bedford High School and the Community Boating Center of New Bedford.

Port & starboard seascape: New Bedford High School Visual Arts students and Art Club members unveil their maritime mural on Whaler 1. (L-R) Alix Gomes, Janelis Rivera, Rosenette Rivera (Fine Arts Teacher), Edwin Arvelo, and Nick Letourneau.

The vessel, a 15-foot skiff style boat constructed of wood, was assembled using hand and power tools and introduced skills across multiple areas of study. Students completed the bulk of the construction and painting after school. Officials noted it serves as a model project connected to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, also referred to as STEAM.

Superintendent Thomas Anderson noted the innovative nature of the Whaler 1 project. “This initiative is the latest example of New Bedford High School’s increasing capacity to offer students the widest possible array of educational experiences in the region and boatbuilding skills not only integrate all of the STEAM subject matter, it embodies an excellent working partnership with leading community organizations such as Community Boating Center. We thank them and congratulate our construction team.”

“We are excited to celebrate the accomplishment of our students for participating in this boat construction project,” said Bernadette Coelho, Headmaster of New Bedford High School. “The finished product is an outstanding example of how STEAM is integrated across all disciplines at NBHS.”

New Bedford High School has enhanced its existing Career Vocational program with new programs and equipment over the past year. The program manager identified marine construction as one of the programs that will be expanded over time.

“Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of New Bedford High School’s expansion of Marine Technology into Career Vocational Technical Education programming,” said Christopher Cummings, Manager of Career Vocational Technical Education. “We envision boat construction to be the cornerstone of a thriving marine technology program and represents our goal of training our students for careers within the South Coast’s emerging Blue Economy,” he added.

The marine construction program was supported by an evolving partnership with Community Boating Center, who provided staffing to facilitate the construction process.

Richard Feeny, CBC Education Director noted the NBHS team constructed Whaler 1 with speed and precision. “This boat was constructed more accurately and more quickly than any other we have built. This is our 14th boat building project in 5 years of community-boatbuilding, but only the third one we have done with high school age students, and the first one we have built in a proper shop! Launching parties are wonderful celebrations of students' accomplishments providing an opportunity for the boatbuilders to stand tall and enjoy the product of their work.”

New Bedford High School’s Marine Construction program is part of the school’s offerings of Career Vocational Technical Education programming. The school offers career pathway programs in Instructional Technology, Health Sciences, Engineering, Early Childhood Education, Hospitality, Finance, Business and Criminal Justice. For more information about Career and Technical Education at New Bedford High School, please contact Christopher Cummings, Manager of CVTE at 508 997 4511, ext. 20799.