PRMS students get hands-on with boat building
Guided by Prairie River Middle School Tech Ed teacher Mark Pugh, a group of students built a boat over the course of the last several weeks.
A core group of eight PRMS students worked as a team to build a 12’ Bevin’s Skiff this spring. Approximately 25 other students helped out throughout the project. Working after school, the project took about 120 hours of labor to build.
The materials for the boat were paid for in part by a Beyond Crayons & Computers Grant from the Merrill Area Community Foundation.
The plans were obtained from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation’s Build a Boat program.
“It gives kids hands-on skills using math,” Pugh said.
Pugh has built canoes with students before, but this was the first time building a boat.
“I wanted to do something that would involve more kids,” Pugh said.
He and the students built the boat from scratch, using marine plywood and pine. The project involved hand tools and power tools, along with a lot of epoxy, fiberglass, sanding and painting work. The oars came off Pugh’s own burn pile and had to be extensively restored.
Student Alli Blaubach said she signed up to work on the boat because she enjoys hands-on learning.
“The whole thing was a lot of work,” she said. “It was really nice to do it as a group effort.”
Like Blaubach, student Nick Oslage has taken other tech ed classes and volunteered to work on the boat to get the hands-on experience. The hardest part of the job, Oslage said, was the epoxy work.
PRMS students were offered the opportunity to enter a raffle to win the skiff. Seventh grader Jack Ford became the proud owner of the skiff after his name was drawn in the raffle Tuesday.
Proceeds from the raffle, totaling $286.50, will be presented to the Lincoln County Humane Society.
Pugh is retiring after this school year and will soon be a student himself. He has enrolled in a school that specializes in the art of building wooden boats.