Friday, May 1, 2015

Why GiveBIG? 5th Grade Teachers Speak About the Impact of Our Programs

Tuesday, May 5th is GiveBIG—a one day event in which contributions to nonprofits in the Puget Sound area are "stretched" through the generosity of the Seattle Foundation. In even bigger news, all gifts to Sound Experience up to the first $5,000 will be matched by an anonymous donor. On Tuesday, anything you give will have an even bigger impact on furthering Sound Experience's mission to educate, inspire, and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment. Read on to find out about the types of programs and experiences that your GiveBIG donation will support:

In March, Wendee Schoonover, Jaime Durst, and Cassie Quirino brought 5th graders from Scenic Hill Elementary School aboard Adventuress for two Sound Studies programs. Located in the Kent School District, Scenic Hill serves a diverse population of whom 80% receive free and reduced lunch. A full scholarship from Sound Experience made it possible for students to come aboard for what Jaime describes as “the gift of a lifetime and a memory-maker.”

While still on land—even before the magic of raising the sails and singing chanteys—it was clear to the three teachers from Scenic Hill that Adventuress offered their students a new opportunity to interact with the environment in which they live. As evidence, only one boy in a group of forty students raised his hand when Jaime asked who had spent time aboard any type of boat—let alone a 102-year-old schooner. Says Jaime, “Most of our students have lived in Puget Sound their whole lives, but never had an experience like this.”

Wendee recalls dividing into Watch Groups and brainstorming names for each Watch with students and crew members: “We had team spirit going right off the bat.” She also appreciates the thought and planning that went into Watch Group rotations such as a plankton trawl, a lesson on marine debris, and an interactive demonstration of mechanical advantage. Says Wendee, “[The rotations were] so perfectly handled and timed so well. It was great for 5th graders and great for adults. The crew made it look really easy.” In fact, students were so engaged in shipboard activities that they were on their best behavior. Says Jaime, “Normally when you have that many kids together, you have behavior issues. We had almost no behavior issues because everyone wanted to participate so much.”

All three teachers agree on the positive impact of their time aboard. Even weeks after the trip, Cassie notices that her students still bring it up: “They still talk about it today. Obviously it made an impact in their lives… if they hadn’t been given this opportunity, they wouldn’t have the chance in their lifetime. They’ll never forget this.”

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