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February 24, 2014

Prep students build wooden boat


The young men spent much of their February vacation working on the boat. Friday morning, they sealed the inside of the hull with epoxy to make it watertight. Next will come sanding, applying fiberglass, priming and painting it.

The club is using plans from a California company called Glen-L Marine Designs, which sells plans for amateur boat builders. The design carries the unfortunate name “Sissy Do,” which was named by the young daughter of the company’s founder.

There was a learning curve to overcome, Soule said.

“These guys are learning how to use a handsaw properly, how to drill properly ... learning about materials and all those other types of basic stuff,” he said.

The students said they have learned a lot by building the boat.

“I didn’t know how to do most of this stuff. Epoxy I never worked with; a lot of this I had never done.” Arsenault said.

Caruso Sr., a recently retired CEO, said it was great working alongside his son and the students.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime project for many of them,” he said. “It’s a chance for them to work together, a lot of teamwork, a lot of problem solving, a lot of mistakes you have to fix, which is always part of life.”

Lessons learned through boat building and hands-on work are immediate, Soule noted, unlike the lessons in a traditional classroom experience.

“The feedback is immediate,” Soule said. “They cut a board too short, they know it.”

Once the boat is finished, the club plans to donate it to the school to be auctioned off during the Prep’s gala on March 22.

A blog tracking the construction of St. John’s Prep’s Sissy Do is at http://www.stjohnsprep.org/page.cfm?p=10641

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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