Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), the non-profit organization that is building Rhode Island’s Education at Sea Tall Ship, has announced that an Educational Symposium will be held Friday, March 12, 2010, from 1p.m. to 4p.m at the University of Rhode Island. The event, co-hosted by OHPRI, the University of Rhode Island Foundation and the Newport Chamber of Commerce and funded by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, is designed to explore how educators can create customized courses by combining academic and experiential programs on board the SSV (Sailing School Vessel) Oliver Hazard Perry, which when completed in 2012 will sail as a 207-foot, three-masted, square-rigged Class A school ship.
“This gathering is for secondary and college level Rhode Island educators, school leaders and any and all other interested parties,” said OHPRI Chair Bart Dunbar. “They will learn more about the ship and what she can do for the education system in this state,” said Dunbar, “and we will hear from them what needs they have and programs they want so that we can plan and design appropriately. We are fortunate in that, already, we have made great strides in developing partnerships with Rhode Island institutions for significant educational programs.”
The moderator for the symposium will be Capt. U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.) David V. V. Wood, former captain of the USCG Cutter Eagle. In addition to an introduction and history of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry there will be sessions addressing OHPRI’s vision and new initiatives, the ship’s architecture, marine technology expectations, and integration into school curriculums, including middle and secondary school educational opportunities and undergraduate educational interests. Students and teachers who have experienced Tall Ship educational programs will also be part of the presentations.
“The project has become as much about building a schoolhouse as it has about completing a Tall Ship,” said OHPRI’s Fund Raising Chair Tom Goddard. “It’s an experiential platform from which students and college kids can learn about navigation, math, oceanography, sail training, the marine trades and this state’s fascinating maritime heritage.”
Goddard explained that the University of Rhode Island, Rocky Hill School and the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS) are a few of the many who have shown interest in exploring options, and currently OHPRI is co-writing a grant request with Rocky Hill School for submission to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
The Oliver Hazard Perry’s design drawings allow for 38 students on overnight offshore sails and 85 for day sails. Currently the ship’s hull is undergoing surveys and inspection at Promet Marine Services in Providence, where its deck and accommodations will be built and many of its systems installed. The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will then move—under its own power–to Newport’s Louis Jagschitz State Fishing Pier where it will be fitted out with masts, spars, rigging, sails, and electronics. At both venues, Rhode Island workers will be employed (Hall Spars in Bristol, Hood Sails in Middletown, and Newport Shipyard are all slated to be involved, while Dave Bonney of Bay Marine in Barrington is the ship’s naval architect), and in Newport, the ship will be a magnificent work-in-progress that can be followed by the public and enjoyed as an educational experience for all ages.
The symposium will be held in the Rhode Island Room at the URI U Club, 95 Upper College Road, Kingston, Rhode Island. The event is free and refreshments will be served. For more information and to register, visit www.OHPRI.org or contact Perry Lewis at OHPRI headquarters, 401-841-0080.
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