By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Some students from Parkville had quite a day in Fells Point. They sailed on a famous schooner they helped save by raising money.

Ron Matz has more on this special trip aboard the Lady Maryland.

They were ready. Life vests on first. Fourth-graders from Oakleigh Elementary School boarded the Lady Maryland.

“I’ve heard about Living Classrooms and the Lady Maryland for years. We started a math and science club after school and ran the program to prepare kids for this trip,” said Cathy Kurtz, Oakleigh Elementary teacher.

The kids raised money to help pay for her repairs.

“We made posters saying that we need to help the Lady Maryland get repaired. Every morning we went to kindergarten class to see if they might have money to donate,” said Emilie, fourth-grader.

The students know all about the schooner.

“I’m feeling great today because I’m thinking about how we helped save the Lady Maryland by getting all those coins and helping get the nails for it. I’m excited to go out today,” said Kyrie, fourth-grader.

The students’ fundraising campaign was called Every Penny Counts.

“The kids got really enthused about the idea the Lady Maryland needed repairs. They made morning announcements and posters and encouraged kids in the school and the community to bring in change and donate money for her repairs,” Kurtz said.

Those repairs were costly. The Living Classrooms Foundation says it has raised about $100,000 of the $180,000 cost of the repairs. It’s an investment in education.

“We’re continuing to beat the drum to raise money for the restoration. It’s a significant price tag. We want this boat to last for generations, so we need to make that investment now if we want to work with kids in the years to come,” said Peter Bolster, fleet captain of Living Classrooms.

More donations are needed to keep the Lady afloat.

“This is a very exciting day. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. We’re kicking off our 27th year sailing with kids and that makes it a great day, but the Lady Maryland was out of the water for four months this winter undergoing a very significant re-fit. This is our first trip since the restoration so this year it’s a little sweeter,” said Bolster.

The major restoration of the Lady Maryland lasted four months after it  failed a Coast Guard inspection last year.

“This experience really enriched the kids and help them grow. The idea of giving to the community was really wonderful,” Kurtz said.

The 25-year-old replica schooner has sailed with a quarter of a million students since her construction in 1986.


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