Last Tuesday, Sarah’s class was told that they would no longer be sixth grade students. They were given this information while standing on a floating dock in Fort Point Channel, simultaneously strapping on life jackets and also trying to keep from losing their balance. A student asked, “What are we going to be if we’re not sixth graders?” The reply echoed loudly under the bridge “You are all now officially Mariners!”
Rowing, a longstanding and popular middle school tradition, began last week. The program is run by Ed McCabe of the Hull Lifesaving Museum, and combines rowing skills with geography, history, and science. This type of hands-on activity (also known as experiential learning) is one of many different ways that students learn at MHS.
In addition to the physical challenges of the sport and the academic topics interwoven throughout the curriculum, there is also an important element of community-building that takes place when rowing. Middle school is a time for young people to expand their horizons and start applying their experience as community members within school walls, to the outside world. Each person must do his or her part to get the boat to respond effectively, which is great incentive for figuring out how to work together.
For the next eight weeks, Mission Hill School’s 17 newest mariners will explore Boston Harbor and the Charles River by way of wooden rowing boats. Many thanks to Hull Lifesaving Museum’s Boston Rowing Center for providing students with this unique and exciting experience!