A junior high school in New Hampshire is on a journey it didn't expect.
Rye Junior High School teacher Shelia Adams secured a grant in 2019 to participate in Educational Passages' miniboat program.
The program allows the students to build, decorate and add a time capsule to the boat.
In 2020, students were nearly finished with their boat when the pandemic hit.
“These students, they finished building their boat and didn't get to decorate it because they couldn't even go to school. So I volunteered to take the boat and decorate it for them and they sent me their pictures,” said Cassie Stymiest with Educational Passages.
The next obstacle to overcome was finding someone willing to deploy the miniboat at sea while COVID-19 concerns were mounting.
The Sea Education Association stepped in to help.
The crew of the tall ship, Corwith Cramer, launched the miniboat boat in October 2020.
Students tracked the boat through the GPS.
At times, the boat's signal would drop. It even went dark for four months.
After traveling more than 8,000 miles for 462 days, the boat turned up on the tiny, Norwegian island of Smola.
With the help of social media, they contacted a middle school student in Smola who recovered the boat.
The two schools got the chance to meet over Zoom and talk about the project and ask each other questions.
The students quickly learned they have a lot in common. They plan to stay connected.
There are other boats at sea in the Educational Passages program. They can be tracked in real-time.
Educational Passages is a nonprofit organization that can work with coastal or land-locked schools.