Lisa Swanson Updates MBS Middle School on Mini-Boat Program from Ireland

Lisa Swanson Updates MBS Middle School on Mini-Boat Program from Ireland

While she is on sabbatical this semester, Middle School geography teacher Lisa Swanson has been venturing to some locations where the 6th Grade sailboats have landed over the past 11 years with the overarching goal of establishing MBS as part of the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network. This week, she Zoomed with MBS Middle School students from County Cork, Ireland, where the 2022 mini-boat, Crimson Current, was recovered.

After being recovered by the McCarthy family in July of 2022, Crimson Current was taken to Barryroe National School, a rural coeducational school nearby. This week, Lisa Swanson visited Barryroe National School, where she was joined by Mr. McCarthy and a classroom of Irish students who Zoomed with their peers at MBS. 

The Zoom call continued a strong connection between the two schools. Last year, students from MBS and Ireland participated in a pen pal program and also chatted on several Zoom calls. Students were excited to see their pen pals once more, and to compare notes about each other’s country and daily way of life.

Mrs. Swanson also gave an update on Crimson Current and Crimson Tide (the very first MBS mini-boat), which were relaunched together this week off the continental shelf near New Jersey. Crimson Current was refurbished by students at Barryroe National School and was renamed Renault na Mara, meaning Star of the Sea.

As part of the Zoom call, students from Ireland and MBS predicted where the two boats would land.  Guesses included Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, and Iceland.

For the past 11 years, MBS has launched a 5-foot unmanned sailboat as part of the “Educational Passages” program. Each boat is equipped with a GPS that transmits to a satellite, so the students will be able to track its journey on their iPads. In each boat’s hull, students place a variety of items that illustrate their lives in New Jersey — essays, baseballs, an MBS cap, a USA jersey, and issues of Crimson magazine. A significant aspect of the project hinges on the hope that students can connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reaches a foreign shore.


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