The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Sailing Studies: A Look into Engineering Science

Teacher Mike Richards  explains to one of his Engineering Science classes the basics of building a sailboat.
Photo by Leila Siegel
Teacher Mike Richards explains to one of his Engineering Science classes the basics of building a sailboat.

Though many people may not be aware, Engineering Science is a class offered as a science elective. The class is a hands-on experience, as the students work (in groups of two and three) on a cumulative year-long project: designing a model of a sail boat from scratch.

They also end up building a 12-foot boat at the end of the year, which one of the students gets to keep.

The teacher, Mike Richards, specifically chose a boat as the project.

“I picked a sailboat because… I’m a sailing enthusiast. Also, this is a great sailing area because of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Richards.

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He said that the class inspires many students to look into engineering as a career.

“Already I’ve had some students say, after taking this course, that they now want to be an engineer… the point of [the class] is for the student to experience what it’s like to be an engineer,” said Richards.

Junior Owen Brinker is taking the class because he, too, is interested in sailboat design. He also liked that the class is specialized.

“I got interested [in the class] because I like boats and I’m better at applied classes than general ones usually,” said Brinker.

He also said that the class has been somewhat challenging.

“I knew [the class] wouldn’t be super-easy, and so far it’s been just so... Interesting, but manageable,” said Brinker.

There is already a relatively large number of students enrolled in the class; there are 82 students total for all periods. However, Richards said he could see more students taking the class in the future.

“When the word gets out about what the class is about and especially when people find out that, at the end of the year, we’re going to be building an actual 12-foot boat… I think we’ll get more students signing up,” said Richards.

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Leila Siegel, Online Feature Editor
This is senior Leila Siegel’s second year on The Pitch Online as the Online Feature Editor. Besides writing articles, Leila participates in the school’s symphonic orchestra and WJ S*T*A*G*E’s pit orchestra. She is also involved in the Black Student Union, Amnesty International club and the Read, Grow, Live Club. In her spare time, Leila enjoys sleeping and watching Netflix. She is excited to see what this year will bring to The Pitch Online. [email protected]
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