Members of the Lewes Historical Society supervised 15 seventh- and eighth-grade students from The Jefferson School as they built three wooden boats for the Annual Wooden Boat Build May 16.
The building of the boats, the Orca, Starfish Dream and SS Nelson, took four days and concluded with the students as well as Principal Connie Hendricks taking the boats on Secret Pond behind the school and spending time celebrating their accomplishment.
“This is a STEM school,” Hendricks said. “Having these children build these boats on their own, and learning what it takes to do so is what we are all about. This year’s motto is ‘Sailing toward success.’”
Supervising the children and teaching them the proper way to build the three boats were seven members of the LHS, Greg O’Brien, Bob Kotowski, Marcos Salaverria, Andrew Lyter, Irv Everhart, Mel Fortney and Jim Bertholet.
“This is our first year with The Jefferson School,” Kotowski said. “A lot of times when we do this, there is no interest in practicing the arts. But this year the kids were very enthused - they are a great bunch of kids. We are hoping this year’s success can help expand what we are doing.”
“This school is great,” O’Brien said. “They teach kids how to do things with their hands. Too often people want to run away to college but don’t take the time to learn a skill or trade. But these kids wanted to learn.”
During these four laborious days of detailing, cutting wood and hammering nails, the students were also given lessons in carpentry.
“Between us, we have a lot of experience,” Kotowski said. “We have prior sailors, boat makers, cabinet and furniture makers. We are all quite talented.”
“We’ve been doing rowboats forever,” Salaverria said. This group won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival for their Delaware Ducker, a replica of a piece from 1910.
This marks the 10th year that The Lewes Historical Society has conducted its Annual Wooden Boat Build. “We’ve built over 40 boats in the last 10 years,” Salaverria said. “We’ve never had one sink.”
The Jefferson School is happy to work with locals in any way possible. “We are proud to keep up with this area’s history and culture,” Hendricks said. “We also participate in freedom trails and hope to keep working with the LHS every couple of years so that every student gets a chance to participate.”