Home of Waterford High School News

The Lancelot

Home of Waterford High School News

The Lancelot

Home of Waterford High School News

The Lancelot

Archives
More Writers:

Nola Gessner is a Sophomore at Waterford High School. This is Nolas first year taking journalism. She has grown up in Waterford...

Emerson Lane
Emerson Lane
Editor-in-Chief

Emerson Lane is a senior at Waterford High School enrolled in her second year of the journalism course this year. She is a varsity...

2024 Senior Awards Ceremony
2024 Senior Awards Ceremony
Marializ Diaz June 7, 2024

Waterford High School’s 2024 Senior Awards Ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 4th.  The ceremony gave honor to many...

Camille Cadrello meeting her roommate for the first time after talking online.
Finding a Roommate
Saeeda Samed, Author • June 4, 2024

As the school year comes to an end, the 2024 Waterford seniors are getting ready to graduate and move on. In college,...

Michael Ellis: The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Michael Ellis: The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Saeeda Samed, Author • June 4, 2024

Inside the third floor computer room at Waterford High School resides veteran teacher Michael Ellis. This year marks Mr....

The Lancer Returns

The+Lancer+Returns
Cassie Stymiest

On May 7th 2016, Mr. O’Connor and Waterford High School student Kaitlyn Dow launched an unmanned mini boat off of Martha’s Vineyard. Now, after seven years and three separate voyages touching down on five international countries, The Lancer has found its way back to WHS. 

The voyage of the Lancer was initiated by high school senior Kaitlyn Dow in 2016 as her year-long project for ECE Oceanography. The class, taught by Mike O’Connor, is a UCONN course that focuses on a year-long project each student is required to complete. Kaitlyn initiated her year-long project, “WHS Drifter Studies,” with the goal of better understanding currents and cross-ocean wind patterns. 

To carry out this project, Kaitlyn assembled an uncrewed mini boat and surface drifter, both of which were assisted in their builds by Mrs. Shoemaker’s fourth grade students at Quaker Hill Elementary School. After careful construction, decoration, and cargo assembly, the boat and drifter were launched off of Martha’s Vineyard with the help of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Throughout the year, Kaitlyn and members of the Waterford community collectively tracked the boat and posted updates on Twitter. In September 2016, the mini boat began to approach the Emerald Isle in Ireland. In order to ensure The Lancer’s recovery, Mr. O’Connor contacted multiple governing officials in nearby Irish towns in hope of finding support, as well as Irish Coastways Surveys. The boat was tracked all the way towards Galway, where it was then expected to land. After calling local pubs in the Galway/Connemara area with the intention of spreading the word, Kaitlyn and Mr. O’Connor successfully reached one owner whose eight-year-old niece, Méabh, ended up finding The Lancer perched on the rocky shore outside their home. 

After recovering The Lancer, Méabh was interviewed by multiple Irish news networks. Back in Waterford, the community fundraised to send Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor to Galway with Kaitlyn and her family. In February 2017, the group was able to meet Méabh and see The Lancer for the first time since its launch. 

Seven months after its landing in Ireland, The Lancer was repaired and re-deployed in the Atlantic Ocean by the Irish Marine Institute in an attempt to jump start its second voyage. 

Beginning in April 2017, its second journey brought it back towards Europe, where it was recovered in Plymouth, UK in August of the same year. The boat was recovered by two civilians who had heard of its trip. 

The Lancer was later brought to a local elementary school and was kept there for five years until Mr. O’Connor’s 2022-2023 ECE Oceanography Class began a group project involving its relaunch. 

In October 2022, students from Mr. O’Connor’s Oceanography class attended the Project OCN international conference over zoom, a program initiated to educate students globally about climate change through the lens of ocean literacy. The class was able to Zoom conference with the kids at the elementary school in Plymouth, where the Lancer was being held. The STEM club at the UK elementary school then repaired The Lancer with solar-powered GPS in an effort to make its new journey more environmentally conscious. 

In Waterford, Mr. O’Connor’s students began the process of building a second mini boat, Lady Lance, to send on a voyage similar to that of The Lancer. They followed the same process of building both the boat and the drifter and connected with Mrs. Shoemaker’s newest fourth grade class, who assisted its decoration. The class documented the process of constructing and launching the boat and were able to interview the original fourth graders who helped build The Lancer in 2016, students who are now high school seniors.

Lady Lance was launched off of Woods Hole in October 2022, shortly followed by the relaunch of The Lancer in November. 

The Lancer was deployed off Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, in hopes to send it back across the Atlantic and return home.

Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, Mr. O’Connor’s ECE Oceanography students monitored both Lady Lance’s maiden voyage, but The Lancer’s journey back. The Lancer landed in Long Island, Bahamas, and was recovered by a charter fishing boat the class had contacted. The mini boat was brought to a local high school where it stayed for the summer. After securing contact with the school, The Lancer was sent back to Waterford, where it has just arrived this September. 

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Lancelot
$30
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Help support the student journalists of Waterford High School with your donations. Your contribution will allow us to publish print editions and cover our annual website hosting costs. Along with travel to workshops and additional add ons to The Lancelot.

About the Contributor
Maddie Parent, Reporter
Maddie Parent is a senior this year at Waterford High School. She is a member of the varsity field hockey team and is on Class Council. In her free time she loves music, reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends. She loves to write, take photos, and work with graphic design, and she hopes to help the Lancelot be successful this school year. This is her first enrolled in journalism, and she is excited to get involved!
Donate to The Lancelot
$30
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Lancelot Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Marlies ParentOct 3, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Wonderful and informative article on the journeys of these unmanned boats (never knew such a thing existed- wow!) and we’re really proud of our granddaughter for putting it together. Love, GM & GP

    Reply