Marine biology students are setting sail with a legacy boat kit project

WATERFORD, CT (WFSB) – A group of students oversee a class project that could connect them with people from the other side of the world.

It’s part of a legacy project that started in 2016 with a student.

In Mr. Michael O’Connor’s classroom at Waterford High School, just before the big start, his students are hard at work.

“I don’t want to do anything wrong. I don’t want it to be eaten by a shark or anything,” said Sam Sanjuan, a senior at Waterford High School.

There’s so much at stake.

“This is our boat. It’s actually a continuation of a project started 6 years ago by a former Waterford High School student,” Sam said.

In this marine biology class they have built this boat called Lucille and they are going to launch it.

The class has been working on it together for about two months.

“It’s messy. But it’s great fun because we’re all split into different teams, but we all need each other to work together,” said Ally Puccio, a senior at Waterford High School.

The boat will depart from Martha’s Vineyard and land where the current takes it.

The class launched it last month.

“I want it to go somewhere. I want it to be something bigger than just a classroom project,” Ally said.

This project is a continuation that started with a student in May 2016.

She had a kit, assembled a boat, launched it and landed 4,000 miles across the ocean.

This time it’s about much more.

There is a larger class of 14 students and a simultaneous start.

The Lucille was built to coincide with the relaunch of the rebuilt Lancer, the original boat in 2016.

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The students hope that their hard work will pay off.

“You have faith?” asked Eyewitness News.

“Yes,” the students replied.

“This is going to make it across the ocean,” said Jasmeh Greywal, Waterford High School sophomore.

Mr. O’Connor has confidence too. But for him, it is the larger life lesson that students really need to learn.

“The bigger lesson is connections to the rest of the world through science, environment and climate,” said O’Connor, a science teacher at Waterford High School. “I hope they bond; they connect to the content and they connect to the rest of the world.”

“This is our drifter, which also detects currents,” said Jasmeh.

The students monitor the boat’s path via GPS.

“It’s like a newfound appreciation for the things kids can do and the impact they can have,” Sam said.

They’re pursuing this big project in hopes that it will have a big impact wherever it lands.

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