Welcome Aboard Ocean Classroom
Term-at-Sea for High School Students
In the Ocean Classroom term at sea, you are an active voyager aboard the schooner HARVEY GAMAGE in a seaborne exploration of the Atlantic Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean Sea. All of your studies are related to the sea. You explore mangroves and coral reefs, salt pans and tidal marshes. You interview local people who live very differently from you, with a different view of the world. You visit sites of slave rebellions, Spanish forts, colonial palaces. You walk where Columbus landed, and meet native Carib peoples whose ancestors were there long before Columbus.
Ocean Classroom is a five credit term-at-sea produced by the Schooner Harvey Gamage Foundation, Inc. in partnership with Proctor Academy and in cooperation with South Street Seaport Museum. The curriculum combines academic studies with seafaring adventure and international travel.
Ocean Classroom is designed for high school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and post graduates. It is a program for students who want to learn in the real world; students who are ready to learn, ready to face challenges, and ready to succeed.
Programs of Education, Adventure, and Discovery
The schooner HARVEY GAMAGE offers programs of sea education for the youth of America in cooperation with South Street Seaport including Ocean Classroom semester-at-sea accredited by Proctor Academy. Courses are taught by HARVEY GAMAGE faculty and visiting faculty from partner institutions. Programs vary in length from one week to one semester and are available throughout the year.
Ocean Classroom Curriculum
As you climb the gangway to the deck of the schooner HARVEY GAMAGE for Ocean Classroom term-at-sea, you are beginning a voyage which will span 4000 ocean miles and a full academic term. You share this adventure with fellow students, teachers and a professional captain and crew.
Your education aboard ship continues in recognizable ways – classes everyday, books and homework, tests and quizzes, essays and research papers. But your education is not “just the same” as in school. After all, you’re on a magnificent sailing ship, sailing the wide waters of the world.
Studies aboard the HARVEY GAMAGE are the truest expression of learning by doing. Marine science, maritime history, sea literature, and navigational math are studied in a thoroughly integrated curriculum. Each subject area is arranged to support and correspond with the others, concurrent with the voyage itinerary.
ECOLOGY OF THE SEA – Physical and biological properties of marine ecosystems are compared from New England’s rocky shores and offshore fishing grounds, to the coral reefs of the Bahamas and West Indies. Students learn field techniques in marine biology and chemistry. They take samples, make observations, and record collected data as part of a regular routine of duties and aboard ship. Students explore the relationship between the resources and vitality of a marine ecosystem and the activities of humanity, both historical and contemporary. (1 credit, Science)
MARINE MATHEMATICS – This course of applied mathematics, designed to let students exercise mathematical principles in the real world. Students learn to use compass and sextant, and to reduce observations to lines of position on a nautical chart. Time and distance calculations, geometry of triangles and of spheres, vectors, and trigonometric functions are studied and applied in coastal piloting and celestial navigation. Graphing, matrices and statistical analysis support the marine science data collection and analysis. (1 credit, Math)
MARITIME HISTORY – A study of the cultural, economic, and social development of the New World, as viewed through a maritime lens. The relationship between economic development, seafaring technological development, available resources of the sea, patterns of immigration, and cultural and social change are approached regionally, concurrent with the ship’s voyage form New England to the Caribbean. (1 credit, Social Science)
LITERATURE OF THE SEA – The great works of maritime literature are read, discussed, and reflected upon. In the context of their own voyage, students gain special appreciation for the power of sea themes and images in the writings of Conrad, London, Melville, Dana and in sea songs and poetry. Literature of the sea is used as a doorway through which students can access and express their own personal experience. (1 credit, English)
SEAMANSHIP/NAVIGATION – Students learn the sailor’s basics “hand, reef, and steer” through continual hands-on activity while on watch. Knots and splices, sail handling, small boat handling, vessel safety and emergency procedures, sail theory, and coastal and celestial navigation are taught in a combined program of formal class work and practical application. Supervised and managed by the captain and watch officers, the students assume greater responsibility for the operation of the ship as their skills increase.
THE SEAMESTER EXPERIENCE
A COMPLETE SEMESTER OF COLLEGE IN NINE WEEKS AT SEA
aboard the schooner HARVEY GAMAGE
The classroom is a tall ship into which is stuffed, jammed, and squeezed students, faculty, and crew, along with provisions, equipment, books, water, fuel and the most essential item, good humor. The campus of this classroom community stretches far beyond the horizon to include the Caribbean Sea and the Western North Atlantic. This campus is unlike any other because it continually changes in space and time. One day the campus will be a tropical lagoon, the next day the ruins of a sugar mill, later a Carolina mud flat or a wall 100 feet below the Gulf Stream. You are teleported centuries back in time to the setting of rural Dominica or walking past the 16th century buildings lining the streets of Santo Domingo or 18th century Mystic Seaport.
Concepts and topics, which seemed remote, boring, and unclear at the home campus, take on a new perspective when studied live in the field. A coral reef becomes an intense experience when after a lecture you dive from the ship to do a field laboratory on the reef front. Fish anatomy can become an unforgettable event as you perform a mega-dissection on a very, very fresh 12-foot tiger shark.
History comes alive, and traditions of the sea take on far deeper meanings after you feel the ship punch through heavy seas on night watch or reef sails during a heavy blow.
There is a sense of personal development as you gain nautical skills such as the satisfaction and confidence at the increasing ease by which you shoot stars at twilight or fix a position at noon. The wisdom of the old sailors’ adage “one hand for the ship, one hand for yourself” will be clear the first time you uneasily climb up the ratlines.
SEAmester is demanding because, in addition to a heavy academic load, you stand your watch and assume increasing responsibilities in the sailing of a fully-rigged schooner. You will not leave SEAmester the same person who came aboard. You will be affected by a rich and deep camaraderie which will persist long after you leave the ship. Great and unexpected adventures will leave a mark on your life.
Other Education Programs
The Schooner HARVEY GAMAGE Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization. Courses are taught by HARVEY GAMAGE faculty and faculty from partner institutions. Programs vary in length from one week to one semester and are available throughout the year.
HARVEY GAMAGE programs are structured adventure expeditions integrated with academic studies in marine science, literature, arts and humanities, math, and history. Operated in partnership with schools, colleges, research organizations, museums, and other educational institutions, these courses yield a powerful, individual success experience upon which students can build a sense of self, a sense of place, and confidence in their ability to learn.
The Schooner HARVEY GAMAGE foundation also runs a variety of custom programs through the year including; Specialized Curricula for youth-at-risk, Teacher Recertification Courses in maritime studies and marine science, and Continuing Education voyages for adults. Please contact us to learn how the Schooner HARVEY GAMAGE Foundation can make sea education work for you.