Photo taken by Mrs. Sturm of ECE Physics Class

Isabella Kimball, Editor

Every year, UCONN has a cardboard boat race in the Long Island Sound. This year, Waterford High School’s very own ECE Marine Bio and ECE Physics classes are participating. On September 23, both classes raced against many other schools in hopes to win the competition. 

Six years ago, UCONN at Avery Point began the cardboard boat race. This race involved paddling a boat made of just cardboard and duct tape. It’s an opportunity for students to think outside the box and work together on a single task. Since then, UCONN has invited ECE classes to participate. This year, 13 schools with over 100 students participated. Waterford High School’s ECE physics class took part in this year’s boat race. Over 30 students at WHS participated and cheered on as their friends rowed towards victory. The race is organized depending on the number of boats that participate. In 2019, there were three heats with three boats in each heat. The winners from that heat go onto the finals, and the winner in the finals wins the cardboard boat race trophy.   

The ECE Physics class also engaged in this year’s boat race. The teacher, Mr. Lovering, said that he has confidence in his class. He also said he enjoyed seeing the process come to life and how the students collaborate with each other. The forecast for the 23rd was windy, and Mr. Lovering believed it would affect the results of the race. “It will be easy going into the sound since the wind is at our back, but turning back around will be a challenge.”   

Each year, to make it fun and different, the participants have a theme the boat has to follow. This year, the theme was “Underdogs in History.” The students from Mr .O’Connor’s Marine Bio class picked the movie Titanic. His students were split on whether the third-class boy Jack is the underdog or if the infamous iceberg is the underdog. Their boat resembled the door that Rose, the first-class lady, floats on as the ship is sinking. Mr. O’Connor said they had many props, such as a full-sized Jack dummy and a dress for Rose. 

A student in ECE Physics, Jack Donovan, said their theme was different from the Marine Bio Class. “Since the theme this year was ‘Underdogs,’ we decided to do ‘The Average Joes’ from the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Jack said that the group building aspect of the project made the experience as a whole very enjoyable. “Cutting up the cardboard and using all the duct tape with all my friends was super fun, the whole project was too.” 

Many students were thrilled to be a part and contribute to the race. Mr O’Connor said this is an activity he always enjoys. He believes that it builds group work among the students and helps them tackle real world problems that they need to work together to fix. 

Mr. O’Connor believes that this activity is beneficial for his students. It applies group building and engineering practices. Additionally, it helps strengthen camaraderie among students and gives them an opportunity to add their personal strengths to a common goal. This activity is an example of how the Vision of the Graduate integrates itself into WHS life. Communication, critical thinking, respect, and compassion all shine through with this activity. Mr. O’Connor said: “This activity is fun for the students, even when school sometimes isn’t.”

The ECE Marine Bio class at Waterford High School is a group of students filled with drive and determination. They were ecstatic about this boat race. They made a TikTok page about their boat and posted their progress. One student involved, Nia Bosco, said she had been the most excited to see the finished product: “Getting to dress up with the entire team is what I am most excited for. Will [Rivers] is going to be rowing us to victory as Rose.” From a student perspective, Nia expressed how she was excited to race against other schools and get decoration points for their Titanic theme. To stick with the theme, they dressed up in sailor costumes and had two students dress up as Jack and Rose.

The UCONN at Avery Point boat race is an inventive and unique activity. Students are allowed to showcase their individual talents and strengths, and bounce ideas and techniques off each other. The students involved this year were passionate and ready for what was to come. Students at Waterford High School were also excited to see the progress made and what unfolded at the race on September 23rd. Mr. Lovering hoped they could come close to success, like they did in 2019. In 2019, the Physics 1 boat came first in their heat, and 3rd overall in the finals. “That was the closest we have ever come to victory, so I am hoping we can beat that this year.” The stakes were high for the UCONN boat race. The results were very close, and many were excited to see the results. The “Average Joes” got 1st place in their heat, and 4th place overall. Unfortunately, the Physics II and Marine Biology boats did not finish their races, but their strength and determination kept their spirits afloat (no pun intended).